Nigeria Partners with Japan on Indigenous tech Start-up

By Na’ankwat Dariem,
National Centre for Artificial Intelligence Robotics NCAIR, a subsidiary of the National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA is partnering Japan International Corporation Agency JICA to empower eight indigenous technology Start-ups through its ‘iHatch’ initiative.

The Director General NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa announced the partnership while declaring the iHatch incubation open in Abuja.  He stated that the program was critical to Nigeria’s digital transformation drive. He noted that iHatch is designed to train, mentor and empower promising Nigeria tech entrepreneurs.

Inuwa also affirmed that the programme will boost Nigeria’s wealth creation drive through effective capacity building.

The Director General explained that “President Muhammadu Buhari promised to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. To achieve that, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, formulated the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy NDEPS; the policy is the backbone program that provides digital innovation and entrepreneurship in Nigeria”.

“At NITDA part of the implementation of the policy, we are partnering with JICA to see how to create enabling environment, train our start-ups that can come up with innovative ideas to create wealth and prosperity for our country. So this initiative named ‘iHatch’ is crafted to identify promising start-ups with promising ideas. To help, train, mentor, incubate them and for them to turn their ideas into product and services as well as train the start-ups on how to pitch their ideas to potential investors so that they can get funding,” he added.

Enhancing Nigeria’s Digital Economy
The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Matsunaga Kazuyosh assured of Japan’s interest in enhancing Nigeria’s Digital Economy sector through its intervention.

“I believe the biggest asset of Nigeria is not natural resources but human capital. So the Japanese government is now focusing more on not helping the establishment of infrastructures, agriculture, medical and security but also digital transformation and green energy in Nigeria,” Kazuyosh stressed.

He said “innovation is key to promoting digital transformation and green energy. I am very happy that the ‘Ihatch’ programme will inspire Nigerian youths to brush up their innovative ideas and maximise opportunity for empowerment. I hope this programme will contribute to the success of not only the Nigeria market but also the global market.”

Ambassador Kazuyosh assured that the programme will be impactful.

He explained that “the important part of the programme will not only bring private sector funding to the start-ups but also provide training to Nigerian Youths. I believe Nigeria needs not only money and technology solutions but the important thing is to provide capacity building for young entrepreneurs that will lead to their success”.

One of the beneficiaries of the initiative; e-Doctor, a digital health start-up, Jamil Ahmed explained that the incubation programme will foster better networking among start-ups and stakeholders.

“This is a great opportunity for networking even among the start-ups coming from all parts of the country doing works in different aspects so that we can synergize to come up with incredible solutions”, Ahmed stated.

The programme, iHatch, a free intensive technology incubation is among several programmes initiated by NCAIR and its partners to help Nigerian entrepreneurs perfect their business ideas. (VON)

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