Buhari honours 7 ITU, WSITS start-up winners

President Muhammadu Buhari has honoured seven Nigerian start-ups that won at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and World Summit on Information Technology Society (WSITS) championships/awards in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

They were presented awards of recognition and commendations on Wednesday in Abuja.

Buhari said the champions had made the country proud at the global stage, noting that Nigeria can produce the likes of Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates in the near future.

Prof. Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, presented the awards on behalf of the president.

The honours comprised awards of recognition, commendation and cash prizes.

Pantami said the Federal Government was proud of the global award 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.

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For those who won the 2022 awards, 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.

Pantami directed the Nigerian Communications Commission, 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.

According to him, Buhari is presently looking at the Start-ups Bill which will be a major achievement of the administration as it contain provisions that would transform the industry in terms of benefits, incentives, loans and grants.

“The Start-ups 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.

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“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,” Pantami said.

The champions are Chipsbrain Nigeria, 2020, Category Seven for an e-health start-up by Mr Oluwaseyi Akinola; Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre, 2020, Category three for  access to information and knowledge, by Maryam Abdulsalam; and Afrilingo, an ICT start-up for Indigenous Language and e-empowerment in  2020 by Franca Igwe.

Others were Association of Women in Technology in Nigeria, Category seven, 2022, ICT applications e-empowerment by Martha Alade, and Special Needs Initiative for Growth (Africa), Career development initiative for mothers with cerebral palsy children in Nigeria, 2021, Category six,  enabling environment by Rachel Inegbedion.

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The last two categories were Top up and Get Reward Limited,  Teleconomy, 2021, Category two; ICT infrastructure by Mr Samuel  Babatunde and Green fresh Nigeria; Wizwish International farm,  Category seven, e-business by Mr Wisdom Ikpechukwu.

Responding on behalf of the winners, Martha Alade, commended the present administration for its passion and commitment to the growth and development of the digital economy,  adding that Start-up owners were inspired and overwhelmed by government’s dedication. (NAN) 

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