13 December 2012

Nigeria: Minister Inaugurates Steering Committee On Software Devt

The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson has inaugurated a 15 man steering committee on Technology Innovation Programme (TIP) that will drive the process of selecting and mentoring young software developers for the country.

Also, the official website, www.techlaunchpad.com.ng, for the selection process was launched by the minister shortly after the inauguration.

Speaking at the event, which held in Lagos, Johnson said the essence was to mentor young software developers that would in turn develop software programmes for the financial and the oil and gas sectors, with plans to extend it to other sectors like the telecommunications and the health sectors, among others.

According to her, the ministry had in the last ten months, been tinkering with the private sector on the programme, adding that the ministry would continue to launch more of such programmes for the development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) because of the importance of IC to nation building.

"We have had discussion with software developers who complained that access to market their software programmes was a challenge to them, hence the initiative to develop software that could meet the needs on the financial and the oil and gas sectors as well as to develop software that could be exported," the Minister said.

The software development programme, which is an initiative of the ministry, is largely driven by industry stakeholders, which include Accenture, Access Bank, First Bank, Chevron, Total, Exxon Mobile and Digital Jewels.

According to the Minister, with the official launch of the website, software developers could access it online and submit their entries on software developed for the financial and the oil and gas sectors of the economy, from where selection would be made by members of the steering committee. At the end of the selection exercise, ten people whose works are able to address basic issues in the financial and the oil and gas sectors, would be finally selected, and given further training and mentoring in the planned software incubation centre for Lagos and Calabar.

The Minister said the selection process would be opened to Nigerians above 18 years of age and must be available throughout the duration period. The website is open for entries till February 24 , 2013, when it will be officially closed.

After the final selection process, the 10 winners will get venture capital fund to support their business in the commercial market, the Minister said.

Providing details of the software development programme, Mr. Adebayo Ibrahim, from the Project Management Office ( PMO) from Accenture, said the technology innovation programme would be in three phases- Programme Planning, Selection Process, and Incubation till commercialisation.

While the goals and mandate will be drawn at the first phase, the second phase will be the submission of entries through the official website and the third phase will be the selection of best 10 solutions and the developers prepared for mentoring and commercialisation of their software

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