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NITDA Urges IT Stakeholders to Collaborate with Government to Nurture Start-ups

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The National Information Technology Development Agency’s commitment to nurture an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem as enshrined in its Strategic Road-map and Action Plan 2.0 received a major boost in Lagos at NITDA Co-Create West Africa Tech Expo, an event put together by GAGE Award in partnership with the Agency to showcase innovative businesses locally and across the globe with physical presence in Nigeria.

Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, NITDA’s Director General, while delivering his keynote address at the event which has its theme as “Evolve” averred that both the government and ecosystem need to work together to nurture the younger ones and help them to transform their ideas from conceptualisation to impact.

He said, “We need to help our start-ups to have access to capital for that will enhance their ideas and provide platform for them to network and learn from the ecosystem.

While acknowledging that the Nigerian Start-up Act Implementation is one of the several initiatives under the pillar, the NITDA boss urged the participants to forge a strategic partnership and collaborate to develop the ecosystem.

He said, “This event is one of them. This is a private-public partnership. We co-created the conference, and the conference itself is to promote co-creation. We do a lot of these activities. We believe no one should live in isolation, so we need to work as an ecosystem to create value together.”

Inuwa, while using the occasion to share the new NITDA’s Strategic Road-map and Action Plan 2024-2027 which is in sync with one of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s defined priority areas of “Accelerating Diversification through Industrialisation and Digitisation” to the participants who were majorly IT stakeholders and tech enthusiasts maintained that for the ecosystem to succeed, stakeholders must join hands with government to build a strong institution which could only be achieved by transforming government’s services into solutions.

He said, “I want to invite you to embrace the spirit of cooperation and collaboration. If you and government can work together, we can do better things; because there are things you can do, government cannot do and there are things government can do, you cannot do, but together, we can do greater things.”

The new NITDA’s Strategic Road-map and Action Plan which is billed to be unveiled in the first quarter of 2024 provides for eight pillars which are; Foster Digital Literacy and Cultivate Talents, Robust Technology Research Ecosystem, Strengthen Policy Implementation and Legal Framework, and Promote Inclusive Access to Digital Infrastructure and Services.

Others include Strengthen Cybersecurity and Enhance Digital Trust, Nurture an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Forge Strategic Partnerships and Collaboration and Cultivate a Vibrant Work Culture and an Agile Workforce in NITDA.

Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, who was represented at the event by the Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Rueben Mouka in his goodwill address advised that Nigeria should approach the tech global market with a clear understanding of its strength, challenges and realistic potentials adding that although Nigeria possesses  three comparative advantage of vibrant and youthful population, strategic location and the gateway to African market, the nation must be ready to also confront the challenges that threaten to impede its progress.

While identifying infrastructure deficits, unreliable power supply and poor internet connectivity as some of the barriers that affect investor and innovators alike admonished that Nigeria should focus on “fostering an enabling environment that nurtures innovation, promotes entrepreneurship and addresses the underlying infrastructure and infrastructure challenges.”

He said, “the nation must leverage unique strengths  such as a deep understanding of local markets to develop solutions that address the needs and preferences of not just African consumers but the world at large.”

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the convener, GAGE Award, Mr. Johnson Aroh described that the NITDA Co-Create West Africa is more than just a showcase of the latest technological concepts that exist in the ecosystem but a platform that fosters creativity, drives digital transformation and builds the ecosystem where ideas flourish.

He stated that the conference would offers a rare privilege of experiencing first-hand cutting edge solutions and groundbreaking projects that embody the spirit of technological excellence and ingenuity.

He said, “ Let us embrace the diversity of perspectives and expertise that enrich our collective understanding of technology transformative power.  Together, we can chart the course toward the future of technology as a force for driving positive change and empowering individuals and communities across Africa.

While commending the leadership of NITDA  for its vision in co-creating the event, Mr. Aina said the Agency’s unwavering commitment to promoting technological innovation and digital inclusion have been instrumental to the level the nation has attained today.


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SOPHiA GENETICS Announces Syndicate Bio as First Liquid Biopsy Customer in Africa

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SOPHiA GENETICS, a cloud-native software company in the healthcare space and a leader in data-driven medicine, has announced that Nigeria-based Syndicate Bio has signed on to implement MSK-ACCESS® powered with SOPHiA DDM™.

Syndicate Bio is the first lab in Africa to adopt the MSK-ACCESS® assay via the SOPHiA DDM™ Platform, and the first company to make comprehensive genomic profiling and liquid biopsy widely available to patients throughout the entire continent.

The implementation of this new technology will further existing work from SOPHiA GENETICS, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), and Syndicate Bio to advance health equity on a global scale.

There are roughly 1 million new cancer patients each year in Africa and currently, comprehensive genomic profiling and liquid biopsy testing options are not widely available.

This means that patients are forced to forego this testing or travel out of continent for these testing options. Syndicate Bio’s implementation of this new offering will provide cutting-edge liquid biopsy testing to many of these patients and will help progress the company’s goal of advancing genomics and precision medicine in an area of the world that has been historically underserved in these areas.

“Partnering with SOPHiA Genetics to bring MSK-ACCESS® powered with SOPHiA DDM™ to our lab is a monumental step in accelerating the cancer treatment and research landscape across Africa, beginning in Nigeria. Next-generation sequencing technologies in oncology and liquid biopsy, which this collaboration enables, hold the potential for creating a leapfrogging opportunity in the oncology treatment and research landscape in Africa,” said Abasi Ene-Obong, PhD., Founder, Syndicate Bio.

“Through this collaboration, we aim to enable the widespread application of precision medicine in oncology across Africa, and thus contributing to the improvement of patient outcomes across the African continent.

“We believe our scientific expertise, combined with AI-enabled technologies and data-driven solutions enabled by SOPHiA GENETICS, presents a unique opportunity to fundamentally transform the journey of cancer patients through non-invasive cancer analysis, predictive genetic testing, and effective precision medicine.”

Syndicate Bio is driving genomics and precision medicine initiatives across the world’s most diverse regions through large-scale partnerships with governments, industry, and other stakeholders. Through its work, Syndicate Bio is making local impact while accelerating drug discovery and development.

By focusing on Africa, Syndicate Bio is poised to make a significant impact, starting with Nigeria, by introducing its pioneering clinical oncology offerings in an underserved region.

Through this endeavor, Syndicate Bio aims to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment for African patients. This initiative not only facilitates local next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing and liquid biopsy testing but also extends access to clinical trial participation, empowering patients and healthcare providers alike.

MSK-ACCESS® powered with SOPHiA DDM™  is a decentralized version of a highly validated ctDNA test developed by MSK that involves the deep sequencing of 146 key cancer-associated genes, and will augment Syndicate Bio’s tumor profiling capabilities, allowing them to utilize a small blood sample to generate a comprehensive report in an efficient and expedited time frame.

The use of liquid biopsy is less invasive than traditional biopsy, and can help simplify patient monitoring, whilst driving the uptake of precision medicine.

The offering combines the sophisticated analytics, state-of-the-art algorithms, and decentralized, cloud-based offerings of the SOPHiA DDM™ Platform, with the scientific and clinical expertise of MSK in cancer genomics to provide a best-in-class liquid biopsy solution.

“In our mission to democratize data-driven medicine, our decentralized global network and unique set of partnerships enable us to help reach underserved populations, just as those that are served by Syndicate Bio,” said Philippe Menu, MD, PhD., Chief Medical Officer, SOPHiA GENETICS.

“By implementing this solution, Syndicate Bio will make a measurable impact throughout Africa, while also helping to generate an unparalleled and comprehensive dataset and provide invaluable insights and knowledge to shape the future of global healthcare.”

In late 2023, SOPHiA GENETICS and MSK announced they are working in partnership with AstraZeneca to bring the world-class MSK-ACCESS® powered with SOPHiA DDM™ testing solution to countries and regions around the globe, including underserved areas where access to testing remains scarce.


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Abdullahi, NITDA Boss Harps on Partnership to Drive Advance Digital Transformation Agenda

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Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has reaffirmed the importance of collaboration in advancing Nigeria’s digital transformation agenda.

Abdullahi, NITDA Boss Harps on Partnership to Drive Advance Digital Transformation Agenda

L-R: Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi,  director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, with Brig. Gen., Abdulrahman Idris, team lead of the Senior Executive Course 46 2024, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos during a strategic tour visit to the agency headquarters in Abuja.

Abdullahi disclosed this during a strategic engagement with participants of the 2024 Senior Executive Course 46 from the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), a delegation led by Brigadier General Abdulrahman Idris.

Abdullahi emphasised that no organisation can achieve its goals in isolation, stressing the need for collaborative efforts to harness ideas, experiences and insights for national development. He highlighted the potential of collaboration between NITDA and NIPSS to leverage technology and digital innovation for driving economic growth, creating job opportunities and attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).

“At NITDA, we have re-imagined our social contract with Nigerians, focusing on improving service delivery and fostering the swift growth of the ICT sector,” said Abdullahi. He emphasised the agency’s commitment to serving Nigerians and outlined the strategic direction outlined in NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2024-2027) 2.0. The SRAP is structured around eight pillars aimed at fostering digital literacy, building a robust technology research ecosystem, strengthening policy implementation, promoting inclusive access to digital infrastructure, enhancing cybersecurity, nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship, forging partnerships and cultivating a vibrant organisational culture.

The brigadier-general provided insights into NIPSS’s role as Nigeria’s foremost policy think-tank, tasked with developing top-class technocrats to drive national development initiatives. He highlighted NIPSS’s contributions to policy formulation and implementation over the years, emphasising the institution’s mandate to address issues of national interest, particularly in the digital economy sector.

The collaboration between NITDA and NIPSS underscores the importance of synergistic efforts in harnessing technology and innovation for national development. By leveraging each other’s expertise and resources, both organisations aim to drive economic growth, foster job creation, and position Nigeria as a leading player in the global digital economy.

Through strategic partnerships and collaborative initiatives, NITDA and NIPSS are poised to chart a path towards sustainable development, leveraging digital innovation as a catalyst for socioeconomic transformation and inclusive growth.

 


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IvoryPay, Tether to Drive Crypto Transfers Across Africa

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Ivorypay, a blockchain-based payment and remittance firm, has teamed with Tether, the stablecoin pioneer, to improve crypto-based transactions across Africa.

Tether is the business that developed the stablecoin, USDT, and with this agreement, it will mint and issue USDT straight to IvoryPay.

According to the partners, this agreement would provide more dependable and economical digital transaction choices to businesses and consumers across Africa.

Ivorypay will leverage Tether’s widespread acceptance to provide a buffer against the typically unpredictable nature of crypto-currencies, increasing user confidence in using digital currencies for daily transactions as well as cross-border transfers.

“Partnering with Tether is a strategic move that aligns perfectly with our vision of simplifying and securing crypto transactions across Africa,” said Oluwatobi Ajayi, CEO, IvoryPay.

He added: “It gives us easy access to the liquidity we need to cater to more businesses and individuals across the continent and to do that cheaper and faster than anybody else, which we believe will significantly enhance user trust and increase adoption rates across our platforms.”

“This strategic partnership between Ivorypay and Tether represents a transformative step for digital transactions across Africa,” said Aly Madhavji, managing partner of Blockchain Founders Fund.

“By incorporating USDT into their payment systems, IvoryPay aims to increase financial inclusion and streamline cross-border remittances, establishing a new standard for stability and efficiency in the region’s financial services We are thrilled to assist Ivorypay as they endeavour to create new opportunities for businesses and consumers across Africa.”


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