Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me start by telling you what the modern economy is all about. Creativity. Ambition. Smart use of new technology. And the power of online and social media. It’s also about having an international outlook.
Every story, every product, idea and application is unique. But together today we underline how essential it is that we create space for innovation at every level. And in Zamfara undergraduates in particular.
We all understand why this is so important. Although the economy is recovering from covid 19 pandemic, unemployment is still high. Alarmingly high, especially among young people. Reason enough to seek out new prospects for growth and development. And it’s great to see that the spending programmes are far more focused on that goal than in the past. Hence, Programos Foundation organized this meeting to harness the latent talents of undergraduates in commemoration of the 10 years anniversary of the leader. This is indeed a sagacious decision.
But that is not enough. The world is changing. We are at crossroads,This may pose a bigger challenge to us. Because while we have a strong force of youth, we are a little too conservative when it comes to entrepreneurship and personal risk. But today’s economy demands dynamic growth. We can’t allow our economic place in the global village to become a neighbourhood of grand but crumbling mansions, without funds for maintenance and new developments.
In short, what we need is economic and digital innovation. Real innovation. We need to give young undergraduates the space they need to succeed. Or a helping hand, if they need one. We have to create a climate for innovation that encourages innovation especially in the ICT sector. One that helps them get the best out of themselves. That is why this conference is so important. That is why the ‘Innovation Bed’ is such an exciting prospect. Because a ‘digital Zamfara’ that is fully geared to new knowledge and technology offers enormous potential in three key ways: promoting economic growth, creating jobs and finding solutions to major challenges like banditry, cyber crimes and general insecurity.
For me it is an honour to stand here today representing a state with a long tradition of innovation. First, we should concentrate on areas where we already excel. We call these our ‘top sectors’. So we should make a conscious choice to promote excellence in fields like water, agri-food and life sciences. These are the areas where we want to compete globally. In fact, we want to be the world number one. Second, it is not the government alone that decides the innovation agenda. We work with relevant companies and the research community. That’s why we need our intellectual undergraduates here. So the government’s main role is not as a grant office, but as a network partner and enabling force. Hence the creation of Zamfara Investment Company by His Excellency and DIPP.
I wish you all an inspiring, informative and successful convention.
Muhammad Yahaya Tambura
Senior Special Assistant to Zamfara State Governor on ICT