The Nigerian Communication Technology Minister, Omobola Johnson, has launched a steering committee to be in charge of the Ministry’s Technology Innovation Programme (TIP), which will train young software developers.
At the inauguration event held in Lagos, Johnson challenged the 15-man committee to bring about the success of the programme, but said it was allowed to come up with its own terms of reference to guide its performance.
She said: “The committee has the task of ensuring that young Nigerian software specialists are given the opportunity to showcase their creativity through the TIP. They should also be given the opportunity to receive mentoring to enable them to upscale their work to world-class levels for commercialisation and access to funds.”
Beginning in February, 10 young entrepreneurs will be admitted into the programme, although it will still be able to assist other promising candidates.
The initiative is not funded by the government, but by private sector industry partners including Chevron, Accenture, First Bank, Digital Jewels, Exxon-Mobil and Total.
The current focus of the programme is on software specialists in the financial, oil and gas industries, after which other sectors of the Nigerian economy would be covered.
Johnson encouraged qualified young Nigerians aged 18 years and above to download application forms and the deadline for entry is February 24, 2013.
The duration for the mentoring programme is 18 months and “only applicants who could make themselves available for that length of time would be eligible.”
After completing the mentoring programme, successful participants would have access to funds allowing them to continue software programme production so they can compete globally.
Dr Ibrahim DauduIn, the Permanent Secretary of the Communications Technology Ministry, said that the ministry decided to go ahead with the initiative after realising how much money Nigerians are spending on foreign software that could be locally produced.
He added the goal of the project is “to reverse the trend and shore up the commercialization and export of Nigeria-made software”.