Nigeria’s Top 10 Covid-19 Innovators
In the affairs of mankind, resilience and creativity normally run rampant in situations of threat and uncertainty. This has again played out in Nigeria and beyond in the midst of the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has posed to society.
Desperate health crisis that came with the coronavirus has elicited desperate innovative solutions in response. The outbreak of the virus with its devastating impacts on health and the economy has unleashed innovation and collaboration within the entrepreneurial ecosystem just overnight.
Nigeria’s capacity to deal with the pandemic wasn’t reckoned to be that robust but in practical terms, the records are quite amazing the level of home-grown solutions that people and institutions here have demonstrated in a very short period of time.
The effort to manage the health crisis has engendered innovative, solution-focused and collaborative mindset within the country. The crisis has created a wave of solidarity within the governmental and entrepreneurial milieu, enabling organisations to develop people-centred solutions at record speed.
A chronicle of what Covid-19 innovators have been doing in response to the pandemic is mind blowing and our editors were moved to capture their exploits in various fields and to share their solutions. It is a demonstration of the capability of Nigerian and African developers to register their presence in the ground breaking solutions being nurtured globally in the effort to tackle the pandemic.
No one can fail to be moved by the promise and the hope that the emergent army of Covid-19 solution providers hold for the nation in the midst of a global despair. Organisations are bringing into the solution arena expertise and technology in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The target is to deal with the high risks the spreading coronavirus poses to people and families living in vulnerable situations.
One major discovery in the course of managing the crisis is that technology stands as a common denominator in mitigating the impact of the pandemic and in sustaining livelihoods. On it also rests the hope for tackling similar challenges in the future.
Physical confinement became a necessity in managing the all-in-one combination of health, education, social and economic crisis. The socio-economic gap thus created needed to be bridged to keep the wheel of commerce from grinding. Then, sprang forth enterprises that have leveraged the power of digital and innovative technologies to keep the nation’s economic engine firing.
In the midst of the global pandemic, digital technologies and human imagination have found another meeting point on a higher ground. The outcome is a breakthrough that has opened new doors to business and financial solutions defiant of economic lockdown.
Emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, have found the potential of going beyond their present use to fast-track the development of vaccine and advance public health management processes needed to combat the virus.
The innovators have used digital technology to help people and businesses boost online trade, build capacity in medical consultations, online delivery of food and other supplies and provide stimulatory funding of enterprises.
By leveraging digital transformation in the crisis, many lives have been saved and thousands of jobs sustained. Beyond the immediate benefits of the innovative application of technology is the hope rekindled that the nation has a chance of emerging stronger than before from the pandemic.
The developments point to COVID-19 as a clarion call for Nigeria and Africa to advance the pace of digital connectivity as the level of investment in digital infrastructure has turned out to be a determinant of a nation’s capacity in mitigating the crisis.
Countries with considerable digital infrastructures have been able to deploy an e-learning platform and knowledge hub for a seamless continuation of school programmes. This seems to point to the future not just for the education sector but for the rest of all human activities. The process of exploring the initiative will need to incorporate educational space for children and young people in refugee camps and other emergency situations.
Another pressing need that has been brought to the fore is development of public-private sector synergy, incorporating the civil society. The task on hand is to collaborate on aggregating solutions and eliminate duplication of efforts in dealing with the present and future challenges.
Such a collaborative platform is considered imperative to pool together the flood of ideas and innovative responses through public-private partnerships. A virtual conference of the Economic Commission for Africa recently endorsed a quick setting up of a collaborative platform to enable business sell African products in and beyond the continent in this time of crisis.
This edition is dedicated to Nigerian innovators that are ahead in evolving innovative solutions in the fight against Covid-19 and in resolving other coronavirus-related problems in the country.
It is a chronicle of critical roles put forward in tackling Covid-19 pandemic and the people and their institutions driving the innovative solutions in Nigeria’s most critical period in history.
Our purpose is to place on the table a reference mark of honour to these great people and institutions in a special publication that projects to the world Nigeria’s home-grown capacity in addressing Covid-19 challenges.
Innovative problem-solving approaches in a crisis situation appear to be the most crucial offering from these organisations. The responses show how innovative thinking can be applied to easing the burden of the pandemic in the country in the light of government’s low level of support. The actions are impacting ordinary Nigerians to whom aid might otherwise have been out of reach.
Beyond the members of the top 10 Covid-19 solution providers are several other key players in the Nigerian tech ecosystem. Among them are organisations that set the ball of innovation rolling by offering training and funding to startups with solutions with the
potential to tackle the novel coronavirus. Venture Garden Group is in the forefront of the move as a rallying port that deployed innovative solutions to NCDC operations.
The group provided $3,000 each in financial empowerment, including mentorship and technical assistance to all seven startups that qualified for its support. The effort set the pace for public-private cooperation in dealing with an uncommon crisis.
Co-creation HUB is another company that put out a call for projects to provide funding, research and design support for COVID-19 related projects. It focuses on last mile communication, support for the infected and most vulnerable, local production of essential medical supplies and support for the nation’s food value chain.
The company is working with Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to support innovative communications projects based on African languages at the semi-urban and rural population across Africa. Top 10 Magazine has joined the innovative fight against the pandemic by using its media reach to place the great accomplishments of Nigeria’s Covid-19 solution innovators on global records.