Freeman, also Permanent Representative of Israel to ECOWAS, said this at the 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 was excited over plans to partner President Bola Tinubu’s administration to achieve growth through digital technology, also that the first two editions of I-FAIR programme provided young Nigerians with mentorship and tools needed to take their ideas from theories to practical.
According to him, many I-FAIR graduates now have various businesses with fellow Nigerians contributing to the economic growth of their fatherland, saying the third edition of I-FAIR has been officially inaugurated.
Freeman said, “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.”
He further said that such would boost job creation in the economy through learning from Israeli experience whereby, 45 per cent of the GDP is based on human capital and research development.
The envoy described I-FAIR as initiative of Israel through partnership with Nigeria with mandate to empower innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs, which had become flagship of Israel-Nigeria programmes, since their 60 years of diplomatic relations.
Also speaking at the event, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Founding Partner of Future Africa, a private organisation, commended partnership between both countries to have helped in the development of youth innovation in Nigeria.
“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,” Aboyeji said.
He further urged 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 6 month 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 had been completed with 63 Fellows and 56 products developed under 1,300 mentorship hours and 100 ideas such as Thinkbike, Soilless farm labs, Quadloops Africa and Eco Circlet Solution turned into enterprises.
Highpoint of the event was the summary video presentation about I-FAIR, as well as website and call for nomination into the programme.