NITDA challenges youth to forge prototype solutions around agric, logistics, security

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Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa, says the agency has created technological platform where youths can leverage on the academic research ecosystem to solve national challenges within 72 hours.

Inuwa disclosed this at the 10 NITDA HACKATHON 2022 held at the Senate chambers of the University of Calabar with the theme, “innovation-driven ideas for addressing local challenges in agriculture, security and logistics.”

According to the DG, “participants are allowed to express creativity within problem focus areas and are encouraged to develop unique solutions with emphasis on using the latest technology such as artificial intelligence,” adding that, “talented Nigerians are challenged to come up with clearly defined ideas and prototypes on solutions around agriculture, logistics and security.”

Inuwa, represented by the team leader for NITDA HACKATHON (South-South), Dr. Salihu Abdulkarim, assured that the event will strengthen the technological entrepreneurship ecosystem, by boosting the entrepreneurship spirit among youths instead of waiting for government to provide jobs.

“We are here to challenge the students and the people in the South-South to come up with innovative ideas to solve local problems, what people are struggling with, in our focus areas which are agriculture, security and logistics,” affirming that, “we will look at their ideas, if they are scaleable, invite them and pass them through an incubation process and programme where they learn the skills to become entrepreneurs, how they can register their own companies and get funding to develop the programme.”

The DG also intimated that, “from what we have seen so far, the students are doing well, they are coming up with innovative ways to solve local problems. We do not have to wait for the western world to come and solve our local problem,” explaining that, “we will continue to collaborate with the participants, polish their ideas while rewarding the first, second and third winners.”

Reasoning that the essence of the event is not geared towards the prize money, Inuwa argued that “even the group that came the 10th position may have the idea that needs polishing and adjustment and fine tuning, so at the end of the day, we will help those people with good ideas to later scale up and own businesses.

Admitting that it was not enough to train students with just technical skills but transforming them to entrepreneurs, he said, “in the developed world, that is what they do. Most people don’t care about government work. If you work in the government is to accept that you want to die poor because you are living by a salary that is determined by somebody and at the end of the day, it is not enough for you to create wealth,” maintaining also that, “if you really want to progress and contribute more to the society, you need to be an entrepreneur because at the end of the day, you will have a job to employ people and also create wealth.”

Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof Florence Obi, represented by the chairman, committee of Deans, Prof Idongesit Akpabio, maintained that in line with the vision and philosophy of the institution, the academic citadel will continue to partner with the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital economy and NITDA to ensure that entrepreneurship spirit among youths receive a boost.