By Bukar Bolori
Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, Michael Freeman has disclosed the readiness of his country to partner with Nigeria towards realisation of the policy on creation of one million jobs through digital economy.
Freeman, who is also the Permanent Representative of Israel to ECOWAS, made the disclosure at a news conference on the official inauguration of the 3rd cohort of the Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (I-FAIR) on Thursday in Abuja.
He said Israel remain excited over plans to partner with President Bola Tinubu’s administration to achieve meaningful growth through digital technology, noting that the first two editions of I-FAIR programme provided young Nigerians with mentorship and tools needed to realize their innovative ideas.
He said many I-FAIR graduates now have various businesses with fellow Nigerians contributing to the economic growth of their fatherland.
Freeman who said the third edition of I-FAIR has been officially inaugurated, insisted that: “This is the official launch of the 3rd I-FAIR programme; since President Tinubu was inaugurated and one of the key focus of his inaugural policy was improving and strengthening Nigeria’s economy.
“He actually spoke specifically on a number of targets, to increase local and foreign investment in Nigeria, also to create one million jobs in the digital economy.
“Israel is the world leader in digital economy and it is also the world leader in manufacturing investment in several other places.
“We buy into this vision and we want to partner President Tinubu and his administration, to help create the environment for investment.
“To help create a million jobs in the digital economy and that is why we are here today, because the I-FAIR programme will help to create jobs, investment and new generation of entrepreneurial Nigerian innovators.”
The envoy said such would boost job creation in the economy through learning from Israeli experience whereby, 45 percent of the GDP is based on human capita and research development.
He described I-FAIR as initiative of Israel through partnership with Nigeria with mandate to empower innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs, and had become flagship of Israel-Nigeria programmes, since their 60years of diplomatic relations.
Also speaking at the event, Iyinoluwa Aboyaji, Founding Partner of Future Africa, a private organisation, commended partnership between both countries to have helped in the development of youth innovation in Nigeria.
He said: “This collaboration between Nigeria and Israel has been extremely fruitful, particularly in the area of helping us to commercialize the research and development that comes out from our University.
“Specifically, the partnership with the Innov8Hub programme, which is incredible; I am delighted with the President’s mandate for a million jobs in digital economy.
“It is extremely an important mandate, we are not going to get there without the support and knowledge that comes from collaborative partnership from country like Israel,” Aboyaji said.
He further advised young people to key into the Innov8Hub programme with zeal, as an opportunity to become successful through their innovation and skills development.
I-FAIR is a 6month programme that provide selected participants access to expertise, technology, mentorship and network needed to develop products and businesses, as well as create advanced prototype and pitch to investors among other things.
Since the inception, two I-FAIR editions have been completed with 63 Fellows and 56 products developed under 1,300 mentorship hours and 100 ideas such as Thinkbike, Soiless farm labs,QuadloopAfrica and Eco Circilat Solution turned into enterprises.