WSIS Champions: Pantami Urges NITDA, NCC, others to Support Nigerian Winners

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Professor Isa Ali Pantami has urged the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Galaxy Backbone Limited, and Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to cooperate with the seven champions of the World Summit on the Information Society Forum (WSIS) and ensure that their innovative solutions are of global standards and benefits.

The Minister, who also served as the chairman designate of the WSIS Forum 2022, made this made this known in Abuja during the awards presentation ceremony of WSIS Champions for 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively.

The 2022 forum which took place in Geneva, Switzerland had technical sessions where youths around the world were challenged to submit their projects covering e-health, e-agriculture, e-education and other fields.

“At the end of the technical session I was presented with their solutions in Geneva and I am glad to say that some of our young innovators emerged as the global winners and champions”, he said.

Prof. Pantami stated that, he is optimistic that after the three institutions of government have had sessions with the WSIS champions, they will have their performances reviewed and support will be rendered where necessary so that their solutions will be optimised to global standards and be of global benefit.

“I want to use this opportunity on behalf of Federal government of Nigeria to direct NITDA, Galaxy Backbone and NCC to look at your solutions and identify where you need support so that these award winning solution will not just remain at startup stage, but rather we should build the solution here with a view to becoming tech giants at least in the next few years and this is our ambition,” the minister said.

The winner for the WSIS 2022 Hackathon is Afrilingo by Franca Umasoye Igwe while the other six champions were, Association of Women in Technology in Nigeria by Martha Alade (2022); Initiative for Mothers with Cerebal Palsy Children in Nigeria by Rachael Inegbedion (2021); Top Up and Get Reward Limited by Samuel Babatunde (2021); Wizwish International Farm by Wisdom Ikpechukwu (2020); Chipsnbrain by Oluwaseyi Akinolu (2020); and Makerspace Project by Oreoluwa Lesi (2020)

Pantami said, because there wasn’t any formal sessions for 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, the winners and champions for the aforementioned years were presented their awards during WSIS 2022

He encouraged them to continue to strive for technological advancement through ICT projects and startup ideas, saying that the Federal government will continue to support young innovators, and even more so when the Nigeria Startup bill is officially passed into law which will see benefits including pioneer status and more grants and loan facilities to young techpreneurs.

Maymunah Zubair

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