The Deputy Governor of Osun State, Mr Benedict Alabi and the Minister of Youth Sunday Dare, on Monday, commissioned two innovation hubs in Osun State.
The hubs, one situated inside the Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU), Ile Ife and the other in the University of Osun(UNIOSUN), Osogbo were built through the Public-Private Partnership(PPP)arrangement of the Osun State Government and financed by the Bank of Industry(BOI).
The Deputy Governor, Mr Alabi said the hubs, called the Opolo innovation hubs, would position the State as the front runner in Information Communications Technology(ICT) in the country.
The Youth Minister, Sunday Dare, who was the keynote speaker at the event, lauded the Osun State Government for providing a conducive environment for the public-private partnership(PPP) Initiative that produced the hubs to thrive.
Dare said ICT is one of the fastest growing sectors in Nigeria, contributing 15% to her Gross Domestic Product(GDP) in 2020, second only to agriculture, adding that the hubs are an investment in the future of the youth, not only in the State but in Nigeria. He commended the Government and Opolo Global Innovations for ‘catching them young’ with technology.
According to him, “the Nigerian youth can initiate inventions that will be global in impact, resulting in technological breakthroughs.
“I believe the State of the living spring(Osun State) can produce a tech start up that will rise from obscurity to world prominence, shatter records and make headlines worldwide like Flutterwave, a Nigerian owned fintech company established in 2016, that provides payment infrastructure for global merchants and payment service providers across Africa. Flutterwave is valued at $3b, the highest valued African start up at the moment.”
The Minister then challenged students and young people to take the gauntlet, task their ingenuity and take advantage of the hubs to break new grounds and put Nigeria on the map of ICT breakthroughs worldwide.
“You must take advantage of the opportunities for funding, single digit interest rates loans that Government is offering through initiatives like the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund(NYIF) to have more tech start ups and create more entrepreneurs and innovators.
“The Government will continue to work towards providing a conducive environment for such collaborations with the private sector to make Nigeria Africa’s ‘numero uno’ in ICT in the not too distant future,” Dare concluded.