Here Is One Of Soludo’s Strategies To Turn Awka Into A Major Tech Hub In Africa

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A few weeks ago, the Anambra State Executive Council (ANSEC) approved the construction of the Solution Innovation District (SID) at its permanent site and work has since commenced with the construction of an Innovation Block.

The Innovation Block is a mixed-use building with a 3842sqm of floor area. The proposed Innovation Block comprises of high-tech facilities and spaces for Enterprise Data Centres, Artificial Intelligence, Mechatronic, Robotic and Virtual Reality laboratories.

The Solution Innovation District, which would house the Innovation Block, shall have state-of-the-art sewage treatment systems, well-planned green areas, water treatment facilities and other well-designed facilities. The idea is to make this facility a place where people would love to work in. Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s plan is to aggregate tech talents in Anambra with this facility.

The Innovation Block shall also comprise of other facilities required to create an environment for innovation, productivity and collaboration: An environment where software engineers and techies can play, relax and enjoy while they develop their codes and algorithms. To achieve such environment, the following facilities were included in the Innovation Block: gyms, co-working areas, creativity halls, gaming rooms, restaurants, auditoriums, libraries, offices, conference rooms, shopping malls, napping rooms, etc. The facility tries to create the kind of work environment that is obtainable in Google’s headquarters at Silicon Valley in the South San Francisco Bay Area of California.

Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s vision is to create the Silicon Valley of Africa in Awka. The Solution Innovation District, which is expected to be completed within the next two years, would be the catalyst to attract other tech businesses into Awka.

Last January, Governor Soludo led a delegation which met with the US Consul-General, William Stevens, and key figures from leading US high-tech companies in Lagos. The proposed Innovation Block would provide co-working facilities for global and local tech companies in Anambra State.

Anambra is already preparing the ground for its innovation district to go full blast. In the last two years, the Solution Innovation District, at its temporary site, has trained over 20,000 youths in digital skills, including coding and software development. With the completion of the construction of the proposed Innovation Block at the permanent site of the Solution Innovation District, Anambra would become a major tech hub in Nigeria, and in Africa.

The Innovation Block is designed and built to leverage the resources of leading scientists and tech gurus in order to make Awka a preferred tech hub. It will provide an ecosystem that links tech companies to tech talents in Awka. It will also provide a forum where young techies can commercialize new products and technologies.

Governor Soludo plans to make Awka a fintech start-up capital in Africa. The vision is to put Awka in the league of cities like Lagos, Nairobi and Cape Town – i.e. cities that attract most of the tech funds from investment companies in Africa. (African start-ups secured over $1.4 billion funding in 2023).

Anambra – and Nigeria at large – has a demographic advantage with its young population. Governor Soludo plans to harness these talents and grow wealth in Anambra State. Young people in the area of hardware, software development and data science have a glorious future in Anambra.

This innovation district shall also provide co-working spaces for young people. It will provide access to incubators and accelerators for our young people. The opportunities for networking would be huge in Anambra in the coming years.

Anambra plans to attract the best and the brightest to Awka with the Solution Innovation District. The GDP of the state is expected to grow significantly with the coming of these tech talents.

In the coming years and with this innovation district operating at full capacity, Anambra would be one of the biggest producers of tech talents in Nigeria. The future is bright for techies in Anambra and in Nigeria. As residents or indigenes of Anambra, it is in our best interest to support Governor Soludo as he puts Awka in the map.

Nwankwo is the special adviser on special projects to Soludo

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