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Nordic Nigeria Connect; Highlights From the Innovation For Change Event

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In its first day of the Nordic Nigeria Connect event, held on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at the Radisson Blu Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, guests and participants, from within and outside the country, grazed the occasion , after its first edition was held, 10 years ago.

In his welcome address at the event, the Nigerian Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, who was represented by Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), stated the age long relationship that Nigeria has, with the Nordic countries.

He emphasised that, through collaboration, investment and technology transfer, there can be mutual benefits derivable, by the parties involved.

He went on, to further mention the roles of the government, in innovation for change, while stating that “The government has put in place, policies to support innovation, through the Executive order 003 and Presidential Order 005, to support indigenous technology and innovation”.

He concluded by listing three key issues that, the Nigerian government has recognized, as areas to focus on, for the country to set its path for innovation; fighting corruption and insecurity, as well as, revving up the economy.

According to him, the introduction of the consolidated Treasury Single Account, is an innovative process of technology and a strategic move that has seen up to N24 billion saved monthly.

Adeyemi Dipeolu, Ambassador and Senior Special Adviser to the President on Economic matters, emphasized that, as the world is gradually taking a step into the fourth industrial revolution, innovation would be the the driving force of the economy.

Through innovation, the country can make economic change and sectors would be transformed.

“I hope that, this exchange will drive and empower economic change, through the creative sector, especially, in the energy and transport sector”, Adeyemi stated.

He further called for a strong Nordic relationship with Nigeria, so that, there would be support for Startups and creativity.

Also delivering a high level opening welcome address, was Staffan Tillander, Charge d’ Affaires, Embassy of Sweden in Nigeria.

He expressed hope that, the activities seen today, would bring about inspiration and innovation for the future.

He did not fail to mention the exploits of the capital city of Sweden, as the next big thing, after Silicon Valley.

“When we talk of technological development, especially, in the IT area and innovation, you need people, entrepreneurs, Universities and people, to people across the globe”, Staffan emphasised.

He further stated that, model companies, with new technology and having solutions that, are smart, sustainable and climate friendly, can be replicated here in Nigeria.

According to him, Nigeria can solve the challenges of environmental pollution, (land, especially) and traffic congestion, through innovative models.

The key note presentations of the day, with the topic; ‘Sharing the Nordic Innovation Experience’, were made by Richard Edet, MD, Nokia Nigeria, Sean Cryan, Country Manager, Ericsson, Fredrik Morsing, MD, Scania Wes and Helne Melkevik, MD, Equinor. They all spoke on the pillars of a world class innovation scene.

A panel session, moderated by Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, Jnr, Co-Founder of GoDoHub and Anthonia Adenaya, saw a discussion on, ‘Making innovation happen in Nigeria’, with a focus on getting to know, how an innovator moves from conceptualization, to creating a bankable project, to scaling in Nigeria.

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