The Gambian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ousman Bah has commended the innovative efforts of the Nigerian Start-ups, describing the nation’s ecosystem as progressive.
The minister’s commendation was contained in a statement made available by the spokesperson for National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Hajia Hadiza Umar on Monday in Abuja.
Bah who toured the National Centre for Artificial intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), a special purpose vehicle of NITDA, led by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa and the National Director of the NCAIR, Engr Ya’u Garba said the drive of Nigerian youths is unspeakable.
He said, “For the last four days I have been in Nigeria, I have been really impressed, I have lived in the United States of America for 32 years, I have done a lot of tech stuffs, manage a lot of tech people in my life but what I have seen here is phenomenal; the commitment, the drive, and the innovativeness of young Nigerians is unspeakable”.
While affirming that members of his team have greatly learnt a lot from the experiences and knowledge gathered, especially from the digital skills workforce of the country, the Minister noted that they hope to replicate the ideas to boost The Gambia’s digital economy.
“Going back to The Gambia, we have a lot to take from here and put it into practice as well as starting our own digital transformation in The Gambia”
“Nonetheless, continue to do what you are doing; as your Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) said , the reward for good work is more work, so you guys have a lot of work to do and we have a lot to learn from you and I really appreciate this”, Bah maintained.
He also challenged African leaders to technologically change the story of the continent for good so as to also take pride in solving the vast amount of problems facing humanity.
“I think we Africans and as leaders, we need to encourage, empower and motivate ourselves towards taking the front seat in critical areas of the world’s economy, we can do it if we make it a collective effort. If they can do it in the West we can do it here”, he averred.
He assured the Nigerian team that plans are ongoing to have the two countries start engaging in mutually beneficial collaborations, particularly in the digital economy sector in order to encourage technology transfer and support each other to reap the benefits of emerging technologies and grow the digital markets.
“I suggested that we do a collaboration, hopefully sign an MoU and engage others in areas we can mutually benefit. I think that Will definitely be the next step”, Bah assured.
During the brief tour of the Centre, The Gambian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy who came to Nigeria to attend the maiden edition of “Digital Nigeria Conference and Exhibition” at different times was pleasantly surprised at the quality equipment and innovations of startups in the facility.
Responding, the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa CCIE noted that the relationship between the country is not new as the duo have enjoyed some bilateral relations over the years.
Inuwa while expressing delight at the Gambian Minister’s appraisal of Nigeria’s digital transformation enumerated other plans/initiatives the agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is embarking on.
He assured the Minister of Nigeria’s support towards growing the African continent in becoming the destination of choice for digital markets.
The NITDA Boss hoped that the global talent gap would be bridged with Nigerian talented startups rising to the challenge.
“The Start-up Bill which was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari would address the bottlenecks stifling the growth of the tech ecosystem”, Inuwa confirmed.