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Monday, 18 November 2019

Techplus 2019: Organizers highlight new focus on diverse avenues to drive tech inclusion

Nigeria’s pioneer Technology Conference and Expo platform, Techplus has revealed that the activities and programmes of the organization from this year onward will focus more on creating a more inclusive pedestal that will help build a stronger digital economy in Nigeria and change the development narratives of all parts of the country.



Techplus, a subsidiary of Republicom Group has been a trailblazer in creating platforms that connects tech leaders globally with young, innovative tech lovers in the country.

Highlighting this new focus at a special pre-event breakfast meeting that brought together government executives, technology experts and other business leaders, the  General Manager of Techplus, Eniola Edun explained that the organization decided to take an assessment of where they are in the eco-system, and how they can best re-invent themselves. In Edun's words," We started a journey early this year that is evolving our organization into a platform for tech inclusion, positioning, connecting and enabling innovators in the eco- system for social change.

"We believe we can function as a voice that can project commendable social innovators so that they can attract quality partners and assistance that can get them to next level. We have been leveraging on the goodwill that was built by the brand in the last four years and this journey has led us into discovering a lot of talents outside the concentrated areas of Lagos and Abuja that we will gladly share at this meeting."

At the event, the story of one of the newly "discovered" talents was from Ahmad Moddibo of The North-East Humanitarian Innovation Hub (NEHIH) where the players are making a difference and finding home-grown tech solutions to humanitarian challenges in the North-East. In a presentation that evoked massive commendation for Techplus, Moddibo spoke and thereafter presented a documentary that revealed how they identified some priority needs and were able to leverage on technology to create new narratives for many disadvantaged persons in Nigeria's war-torn North-East region.

Guests were virtually moved to tears as they watched Nigerians who lost their limbs during the war with insurgents in the North-East region, receive prosthetic limbs with excitement, free of charge from the humanitarian gestures of Maddibo and his team. These revolutionary humanitarian efforts were made possible with the aid of the 3D Printing Machines, the 3D Labs installed by The North-East Humanitarian Innovation Hub and the creative efforts of its team.

Another speaker at the breakfast meeting was Silas Adekunle, the young Nigerian engineer, inventor and technology entrepreneur known for creating the world's first intelligent gaming robot. Adekunle, who was listed among the world's most revolutionary entrepreneurs for the 2019 One Young World award spoke on Artificial intelligence (AI) and Robotics.

He spoke on the benefits of AI and Robotics and advised strongly on the need for all stakeholders to contribute to the growth of this aspect of learning to avoid Nigeria lagging in this area even in Africa. He emphasized the need to create an educational scheme that will expose young Nigerians to this relatively new field in the country so that we can have a generation of Nigerians that will be inspired to grow their skills in this very strategic area. He listed three skill areas that will rule the world in the near future to include- Problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. He revealed that robotics cuts across all these three areas and advised Nigeria to join the path of a small country like Rwanda that is laying massive foundation for robotics education.

The Nigerian-born robotics guru also revealed that in line with his passion to develop the education sector, he would be coming up with a robotics lab and academy that will deepen Africa's passion for robotics. "I believe this will help us create home-grown solutions to most of our problems in Nigeria", he stressed.

Commenting on the presentations and other plans highlighted by Techplus, Lagos State Commissioner for Science and technology, Hakeem Popoola Fahm who was one of the top government officials invited to the event commended the efforts of Techplus in creating a platform that  will enhance Nigeria's digital knowledge which Lagos state can leverage on.

Commissioner Fahm, also said that State programmes like the establishment of the e-Learning Centre designed to improve the quality of  digital education in our institutions, the establishment of Ikeja Digital Village, The Lagos Smart City project as well as the Code Lagos  initiative that is aimed at training 1 million coding experts in Lagos  will all find a platform like Techplus very relevant in the effort of the state to build a world class digital economy.

Isa Pantami, Minister for Communications and Digital economy who was represented by Chioma Oke-Aguguo of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) equally commended Techplus in its efforts in the last half decade to grow Nigeria's digital economy by supporting innovations and bringing thought leaders in the sector across the globe to impact young people. She promised that her ministry will continue to partner with Techplus to grow Nigeria's digital economy.

The event attracted other top public officers and corporate chieftains like the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Innovation, Olatunbosun Alake; Head, Marketing and Communications, Stanbic IBTC, Bridget Oyefeso-Odusami, and many others.  Top executives of Republicom, kazeem Abimbola, the Managing Director and Tosin Omoyajowo, Executive Director. Representatives of organizations that have sponsored and effectively supported techplus over the years like LASAA, Stanbic IBTC, and pulseng were also present.

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