The Minister of Communications, Isa Pantami, on Thursday in Abuja described the Federal Capital Territory as the second hub for technological innovations after Lagos.
He said this while expressing happiness that Nigeria had become the first African country to be represented twice at a major global technological event.
The event the minister was speaking about is the MT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme organised by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT-REAP).
He said Team Abuja had been accepted to represent Nigeria at the 7th Cohort of the programme running between 2019 and 2021.
Lagos had previously participated in the Cohort 4 of the programme.
MIT REAP is an initiative of MIT Sloan Global Programs. It brings together key stakeholders to discuss and appraise key strengths and weaknesses of regions’ technological innovation and engagement.
The programme involves four action based learning cycles over a two year period, which takes participants through a process of analysis to implementation.
This enables regional team members to learn from and collaborate with MIT experts.
The project is championed by Mr Pantami and others in the technology sector.
Mr Pantami said this achievement ”places Nigeria as a leading player in the innovation-driven enterprise in the continent. “It confirms Abuja as the second hub for innovation in the country.”
“There is a strong competition for places in this prestigious program and only a few were selected,” he said.
Team Abuja will be joined on the programme with regional teams from Denmark, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.
Mr Pantami said the growth of innovation-driven entrepreneurship is capable of sustainably reducing unemployment.
He said it will create opportunities to support and grow private industries in the region.
“We are grateful to MIT for deeming UA worthy of participation on this programme and recognising the efforts made over the years to build entrepreneurial capacity in the region,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Associate Dean for Innovation MIT, Fiona Murray, said the programme ”ignites innovation-driven enterprises in local environments by utilising each region’s distinct resources.
“Each team is given the opportunity to take theory from the classroom and apply it in the local, innovation-driven, entrepreneurial ecosystems. MIT REAP brings the MIT mission to the wider global community.”
Mr Murray said the area of coverage for Abuja is FCT ”but the team expects the impacts on all adjourning states and the rest of Nigeria”.