The Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, in partnership with the Japan International Corporation Agency, JICA, has begun a two-week intensive training for Information Technology startups in Abuja.
The startups, 20 in number, were drawn from the northeastern geo-political zone of the country.
Speaking during the opening ceremony on Monday in Abuja, the NITDA Director-General, KAshifu Inuwa, said the program is organized to support start-ups based in the northeast region.
Mr Inuwa, who was represented by the National Coordinator of the Office for Nigeria Digital and Innovation, Yakub Musa, commended the government of Japan for what he described as an impactful partnership through various intervention programs.
He said: “We are partnering and collaborating with different relevant ecosystem stakeholders and various initiatives towards achieving the objective of the pillar, the number is the northeast start-up training program that we are launching today.
“Let me use this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to the government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, for the impactful partnership we have enjoyed so far.
“Not only on the next program but other programs such as the idea-hatch, i-hatch, startup intubation program, and the ninja acceleration program.
“By consistently supporting our efforts to develop and expand the number of innovation-driven enterprise in Nigeria, JICA has again proven to be a dependable partner and totally align with our vision of consolidating Nigeria’s position as the leading entrepreneurial hub in Africa and global digital talent hub.”
Mr Kashifu, therefore, called on the participating start-ups to take full advantage of the training program to transform and reposition their business for a greater impact on the economy.
In his remark, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, disclosed that the Government of Japan had been providing assistance to the North Eastern part of the country through emergency grant aid since 2013.
According to him, the Government of Japan shared the same aspiration as the startup entrepreneurs operating in Northfield.
He said: “I think that Internet access in the north Eastern State will improve considerably in the future.
“Partly due to the development of 5G, which will bring high speed in an accessible and installing satellite Internet service which will bring better access to the Internet, especially in the rural area.
“The beginning of this operation will be a game changer to give more benefit to the community in the northeast from digital transformation.
“Therefore, I believe that the latest technology will be the key to solving challenges and winning business.
“And then your future. When each of these startup companies wants to use some of the latest technology to solve that social problem, I would like you to come here to collaborate with the Japanese.
“And there are many companies in Japan that have excellent technology and are eager to work with you to solve social problems in the North Sea and throughout Nigeria.
“I support all of you who are working on the frontline in the Northeast, where many social programs exist,” he said.
Speaking on his expectation for the program, one of the start-ups, Khalid Abdullahi-Yero of Dopals Technologies, said he hoped that the training would offer him more skills for building better business models and the opportunity to network with experts.
He said his coy helps to solve the problem of online education, which has to do more with skills rather than conventional education.
According to him, Dopals helps people learn skills from their own local neighborhood, using their own local language.
Mr Abdullahi-Yero said: “As a student in the university, one can register on the platform and publish a course and those courses would be taught in whatever language that is understood by the beneficiary. We charge a commission based on the course offered.