The use of digital technology to create new solutions that drive economic growth is on the rise in Nigeria. Much of this growth can be attributed to the emergence of Lagos State as a regional hub for technology driven innovation, catalysed by bold and revolutionary ICT initiatives of the Lagos State Government.
The need to optimise this potential for digital technology to drive economic transformation in the State for the benefit of the entire country has birthed KITE@Yaba, a project aimed at transforming the Yaba technology cluster into a leading source of technology innovation. KITE which stands for “Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship” seeks to provide an enabling environment that will facilitate and support the development of a technology and innovation ecosystem within the Yaba District (and its surrounding environs) of Lagos.
The project kicked off earlier this year with the establishment of the Project Steering Committee (PSC). The PSC is a 6-member committee comprising representatives from three Lagos State ministries namely Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment and the Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban Development as well as three representatives from the private sector.
To support the Project Steering Committee, a consortium of notable technology industry experts was inaugurated as the Industry Advisory Board (IAB) in June 2018. The IAB which includes organisations like Google, Microsoft, MainOne, Andela, General Electric (GE), CcHub, Flutterwave, University of Lagos, Lagos State University and Ibile Broadband, will in the coming months provide project direction while ensuring the project focus areas are realized. The focus is on improving the enabling environment in the areas of Access to Funding; Access to Market and Demand; Infrastructure; Policy Regulation & Governance; R&D; Talent; Skills & Education; Networks & Collaboration; Advocacy & Marketing; and Strategic Partnerships.
The Lagos State Government is proud to announce the completion of the ICT Cluster Visioning Workshop for the KITE@Yaba project which recently took place at the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Conference and Exhibition Centre, 10 Nurudeen Olowopopo Way, Alausa, Ikeja. The workshop, facilitated by Accenture, was aimed at the attendees jointly setting a vision that will create the enabling environment to facilitate, support and aid the development of a technology and innovation cluster ecosystem within the Yaba District (and surrounding environs) of the Lagos metropolis. It was well attended by members of the Project Steering Committee (PSC), the Industry Advisory Board (IAB) and the recently inaugurated Policy Enablement Committee (PEC).
The workshop kicked-off with opening remarks delivered by one of the Project Steering Committee co-chair, Mr Hakeem Fahm (Honourable Commissioner for Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology) who highlighted that “the involvement of multiple private and public-sector stakeholders in the visioning session will lay the foundation for successful partnerships that will accelerate the development of a technology and innovation cluster within the Yaba District and enable wealth creation, employment growth and economic development through Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship”. Dr Omobola Johnson (PSC co-chair and former Minister for Communication & Technology) in her address added that “it was important to create a vision influenced and supported by the experiences of the project stakeholders as a way of taking future ownership of the project”.
The workshop facilitator, Stephen Zoegall (Accenture’s Digital Strategy Manager) while setting the stage for the workshop expressed that “KITE@Yaba can send ripple effects of enhanced innovation, investment and education throughout Nigeria and the broader region and like all ICT clusters, it will be successful only to the extent the public-private partnerships are successful”.
The participants during the various workshop activities were guided by three main questions –
- Why is Yaba a focus area?
- What needs to be provided for an enabling environment?
- How will a dedicated team foster partnership growth whilst managing services and offerings that will enable a work and play environment?
These activities elicited invaluable contributions from the attendees during the discovery session. The Chief Executive Officer of IBILE Holdings Limited observed that “the cluster must work collaboratively by creating symbiotic relationships with its stakeholders and partners such that as it receives knowledge and shares this invaluable knowledge generated with start-ups and other technology businesses in the cluster.
The Head, Regulatory Services of MainOne who also highlighted the cluster’s importance in reviewing and designing the right digital skills curricula required by the ICT industry over the next 10 years in partnership with the private sector which can subsequently be applied to talent development thus providing the much-needed technological manpower from which businesses within and outside the cluster can employ the best candidates in advancing the growth of the digital ecosystem”.
The workshop closed on a high note with the co-chairs of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) affirming in their closing remarks that the coming months will further attest to the growing need for continued transformation within the ICT sector which the KITE@Yaba project is positioned to address sustainably.