The Nigerian Government has presented awards of recognition and commendations to seven citizens whose Startups won International Telecommunications Union (ITU), World Information Technology Society (WITS) championships and Awards in 2020, 2021 and 2022
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami who presented the Awards on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, disclosed that the awards also involved cash prizes.
President Buhari said the champions have made Nigeria proud on the global stage noting that their stories have become testimonies that the country is capable of producing the likes of Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates in the near future.
The Minister noted that “The President and the Nigerian Government is proud of the global Awards winners in various categories in ICT and Digital Innovation sector, especially those who bagged the Awards at a time he (Pantami) Chairs the global body.“
Pantami explained that 996 applications were submitted online with 360 selected for votes, while 1.3 million people voted across the world in 193 member countries for the winners to emerge.
He directed the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, and Galaxy Backbone Limited to pick the solutions that won the awards with a view to support them to become global brands.
He assured the winners that President Buhari is presently looking at the Startups Bill which would be a major achievement of the administration as it contains provisions that would transform the industry in terms of benefits, incentives, loans and grants.
“The Startups Bill when passed into law will become the major achievement of the digital transformation era of President Buhari because there are provisions in the Bill that will change the narratives of the sector. There will be a Council on Start-ups and Mr President as the Chairman.
“The Private sector will collaborate with government to address challenges and proffer solutions to make Nigeria produce her own Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg.“
The Awardees include Chipsbrain Nigeria, 2020, Category 7, e-health, Mr Oluwaseyi Akinola, Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre, 2020, Category 3, access to Information and Knowledge, Ms Maryam Abdulsalam, and ICT for Indigenous Language, Afrilingo, 2020, e-empowerment, Ms Franca Igwe.
Others are Association of Women in Technology in Nigeria, Category 7, 2022, ICT applications e-empowerment, Ms Martha Alade, and Special Needs Initiative for Growth, (Africa), Career development initiative for mothers with cerebral palsy children in Nigeria, 2021, Category 6, enabling environment, Ms Rachel Inegbedion.
The last two categories are: Top up and Get Reward Limited, Teleconomy, 2021, Category 2, ICT infrastructure, Mr Samuel Babatunde and Green fresh Nigeria, wizwish international farm, Category 7, e-business, Mr Wisdom Ikpechukwu.
On behalf of the winners, Martha Alade applauded the present administration for its passion and commitment to the growth and development of the digital economy, adding that Startup owners are inspired and overwhelmed by the government’s dedication.