The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has said that the Commission’s Digital Solutions Hackathon for COVID -19 and other Infectious Diseases Hackathon was a response to the Honourable Minister’s challenge to the Commission, to evolve a digital solution to the current Covid-19 pandemic which has continued to terrorize the entire humanity.
“This challenge is not misplaced, given that it is in tandem with the 8-pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-2030. We considered the challenge to find a local content solution to the pandemic as a fillip to our strategic designs as contemplated in our 8-Point Agenda, which, incidentally, aligns with the 8-pillars of the NDEPS 2020,” Danbatta said.
The EVC who made these remarks at the presentation of grants to winners of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s Digital Solutions Hackathon for COVID -19 and other Infectious Diseases, stated that it is now evident that the entire globe is challenged about how best to tackle this pandemic, disclosing that Telecommunications/ICTs have taken the centre stage in the provision or advancement of solutions.
“Working from home has become a new normal made possible by ICTs. Innovations in telecommunications have to a large extent, provided the best link for humanity to share available solutions in navigating the challenges of the pandemic.
“This may be the reason why the number of uptakes in different types of telecommunications services has continued to rise in spite of lockdowns and restrictions occasioned by the pandemic. These may have given impetus to the possibility of holding virtual meetings and conferences on video technologies that are now providing social distancing solutions.
“The Hackathon is expected to throw up innovative and adaptable solutions that will address the present and future impacts of Pandemics and Epidemic diseases in Nigeria focusing on five (5) thematic areas namely Health, Community, Productivity, Economy and Education.
“Today, we hope to unveil the three winning adaptable digital solutions from Startups or Digital SME’s who participated in this competition, aimed at producing homegrown solutions to the global pandemic for local, national or global adoption.
“We had, in inviting submissions for this innovative digital solution to Covid-19 pandemic, sought novel ideas or solution to address the needs of health workers and other frontline health professionals including individuals in isolation centres or provide help for relevant agencies involved in tracking and tracing the spread of the virus as well as support or facilitation of other preventive measures.
“We will all witness what digital solutions that today’s winners are going to bring to the table. Each of the Startups, or tech-hubs with promising innovative digital solutions against the pandemic will receive a grant of N3m (Three Million Naira Only),” the EVC further said.
While noting that the event was by no means the first of its kind, the EVC recalled that the NCC had encouraged ICT innovations among Nigerian youths and have regularly sponsored them to the various competitions organized by the International Telecommunications Union.
“The Commission has in the past two years managed similar ICT-based innovations and research competitions among the tertiary institutions in the country, with potentials to improving on our local content solutions in the industry,” Danbatta said.
The EVC expressed the Commission’s openness for support and collaboration in finding practical and adaptable digital solutions to the global pandemic and beyond.