The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has presented a total of N9m in grants to three startups with the most promising ideas in developing digital solutions to help comeback the Coronavirus pandemic.
The three startups who got the prize in the NCC Hackathon were announced at a virtual ceremony on Tuesday.
The three winners include the Elizade Universtity Team that developed an Automated Temperature Scanner with contact tracing capacity, Smartclinic, which links a patient based mobile App to a hospital based information system and KlasConnect, which developed an App allowing students to register, take courses online and submit assignments.
The Executive Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, in opening remarks at the ceremony said it was the Honourable Minister, Isah Pantami’s challenge to the Commission, to evolve a digital solution to the current Covid-19 pandemic which has continued to terrorise the entire humanity.
He said, “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, with the Honorable Minister as the Pilot. We considered the challenge to find a local content solution to the pandemic as fillip to our strategic designs as contemplated in our 8-Point Agenda, which, incidentally, aligns with the 8-pillars of the NDEPS 2020.
“It is evident that the entire globe is challenged about how best to tackle this pandemic. Telecommunications/ICTs have taken the centre stage in the provision, or advancement of solutions.
“In the quest of the International Finance Corporation, IFC, to appraise the impact or role that telecommunications/ICTs plays in addressing this COVID-19 pandemic, IFC noted that more than any other event in human history, the critical importance that telecommunications infrastructure plays in keeping businesses, governments, and societies connected and running as the economic and social disruptions caused by the pandemic have made people across the globe to rely on technology for information, for social distancing, and working from home.”
Danbatta said working from home had become a new normal made possible by ICTs.
Innovations in telecommunications has to a large extent, provided the best link for humanity to share available solutions in navigating the challenges of the pandemic.
He said, “So, in whichever way we look at it, telecommunications has much more greater role to play than many other sectors of economy and the society. Therefore, the challenge to us to find a way to accentuate our local content solution is a blessing. We are pleased with the responses that we received on this initiative.
“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, he said, “we hope to unveil the three (3) 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.”
He said, “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).
“Today’s event is by no means the first of its kind. We have encouraged ICT innovations among the Nigerian youths whom we have regularly sponsored to the various competitions organised by the International Telecommunications Union.”