Announcing Nigeria Innovation Cluster Mapping Project with Support from Tony Elumelu
Within the last decade or so ICT has become a major contributor to the socio-economic development of Nigeria. It has redesigned many businesses across different industries and made them more efficient and productive. The influence of ICT can be felt in both public and private sectors in Nigeria, thus taking the new vesta of human and organizational capabilities to higher level, and equipping them with the necessary tools to be very competitive, both at the regional and international levels.
This major achievements being experienced through ICT in synchronizing the interfaces of people, processes and tools may have lead to the masking of the advancement being achieved in other areas in Nigeria. Areas such as metal making, agri-business, shoe making, dyeing, entrepreneurships, hobbyists and startups among others; the trajectory of all these phenomenon changes can be said to be mainly localized and are based on specific factor geared towards making these organizations improve on their capabilities to compete locally.
For these reasons, it is therefore paramount that the government and local business communities understand these developments being experienced but are not being picked up by their radar. This will in effect give them the necessary knowledge as policymakers to have useful insights on where to stimulate further positive growth, especially in terms of using the appropriate government policies and interventions. This will lead to a new era of policies for S&T innovation which will be based on actual data that are collected from the grassroots hence eliminating guesswork entirely from the process of policy making.
To address this, an initiative dubbed Nigeria Cluster Mapping Project has been formed, whose mission is to collect, curate and map out all the technological innovations in Nigeria, whether formal or informal. This initiative intends to uncover pockets of industry clusters, whose companies have similar attributes and are co-existing with synergy. This project will be valuable to government institutions and business communities, in the sense that it will be providing them with valuable data and tools to make them understand exactly what drives the clustering. This project will look at all the regions in Nigeria and study how various policies will boost their individual efficiency and success. This initiative seeks to eliminate guesswork that is currently hampering effective policymaking in innovation since accurate and relevant data and tools are not available.
Nigeria Cluster Mapping Project is building up a relevant database of various innovation ecosystems and entities which will include various startups, ideas, outstanding individual inventions and research labs among others. They literally take all the relevant data, including those traditional herbs the African natives use in the treatment of snake bites; since it is a technology geared towards addressing socio-economic challenges facing the people. Established IT companies which only resells foreign products to the local market without adding any significant additional value will be excluded from the projects database. The projects mandate is to enable especially the private sector to capitalize on available opportunities in industries such as the Kano (leather) and Aba (shoes) among others.
The methodology that will be used in this project will includes surveys: sharing with the innovators, makers, creators, startups, research labs, hobbyists and tinkerers. Other methods will include interviews and visiting sites just to mention a few. They are spreading this message, and are urging everyone to help them spread the message to reach all stakeholders thus ensuring a collective responsibility for the success that will be achieved. The project visiting various cities across Nigeria, more details on specific date will be available on the project’s website soon.
This initiative is under the management of African Institution of Technology, backed by Milonics Analytics which is tasked with statistical modeling and data analysis for the project. It is funded by The Tony Elumelu Foundation, and has Dr. Ndubuisi Ekekwe as the Program Director. Dr. Ekekwe is leading a big panel of competent Nigerian professionals and field associates selected to work in this initiative. Dr. Ekekwe brings on board a lot of experience, given that he has served before in similar capacity both Argentina and Brazil and achieved impressive results. His book on technology diffusion which won the IGI Global 2010 “Book of the Year” award can attest to his suitability to head this project.