Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Pantami, has advised Nigerians to promote the development of indigenous digital solutions in the country especially as the COVID-19 throws up challenges.
Mr Pantami made the call during the presentation of N3 million prize money to each of the three promising startups that emerged winners in the COVID-19 Virtual Hackathon in Abuja.
The contest was organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the commission’s spokesperson, Ikechukwu Adinde.
The hackathon was initiated by NCC to encourage the Nigerian youths to develop adaptable and innovative digital solutions that can address some of the challenges that emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The start-ups who made it to the top three are Elizade University Team, Primed E-Health Solutions and Cyberfleet.
The Elizade University Team’s tech solution is an Automated Temperature Scanner (ATS), a device designed to conduct automatic temperature screening and contact tracing of persons with body temperature above the normal level for human beings.
Primed E-Health developed a mobile and web solution called SmartClinic, which can link patient-based mobile health app with a hospital-based information management system.
‘KlassConnect’ by Cyberfleet is an online platform that can be deployed by schools to continue with teaching and learning activities regardless of any health challenges that may prevent face-to-face physical interactions.
Mr Pantami commended the commission for embarking on the tech contest.
He said the initiative is not only in tandem with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) “but also aligns with the implementation of the Executive Order 003, which aims to promote indigenous content development and patronage in Nigeria”.
“No country will develop without taking deliberate decisions to promote its indigenous solutions to solve national problems. Through this contest, the NCC has demonstrated its resolve to drive the Ministry’s efforts in leveraging indigenous digital solutions to address challenges thrown up by COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” he said.
The COVID-19 Virtual Hackathon is a follow-up to the first hackathon by the Commission, which culminated in the hosting of an ‘ICT Innovation, Competition/Exhibition Forum’ at the Lagos Campus of Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) in December, 2019.
At the end of the maiden edition, three startups namely, Quataloog, Wicrypt and Phaheem Nigeria Limited emerged winners.
The annual Hackathon is part of the strategic initiatives of the commission to promote ICT innovation and investment in the Nigerian telecommunications sector and improve the nation’s competitiveness in the global digital economy.
Also, speaking earlier at the prize-giving ceremony, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Danbatta, said the hackathon is expected “to throw up innovative and adaptable solutions in five thematic areas namely health, community, productivity, economy and education”.