BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Digital Economy: Africa is blessed with great potentials – DG NITDA

By Raphael Jov, Abuja

The Director General, National Information Technology Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE has described African Continent as centre with great potentials especially in the development and domestication of digital innovation.

He said this during the annual Digital Africa Conference held this week with the theme “Africa’s Post-Pandemic High Tech World.”

The NITDA boss, who was represented by the Director, IT Infrastructure Solutions, Dr Usman Gambo Abdullahi at the event, affirmed that this year’s theme is indeed very apt, considering the resultant effect of COVID – 19 pandemic which has triggered an unprecedented demand for digital technology solutions.

According to him, that has also brought about what we now know as the ‘new normal’ with new opportunities and possibilities unlocked by digitalisation, adding that at this time, the importance of a digital enabled economy cannot be overemphasized.

“The vision of Digital Africa to ignite passion for Africa’s development through the use of ICT aligns appropriately with our mandate at National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) which is to develop and regulate Nigeria’s Information Technology (IT) sector by setting up the essential regulatory and governance structures that will stimulate the growth of the IT ecosystem and transit the nation to a digital economy, and Africa by extension.”

“You will all agree with me that Africa is truly blessed with great potentials and opportunities. Occasions like this therefore provide us with the opportunity to deliberate and chart a course towards the development and domestication of digital innovation, which will leapfrog the continent’s development and position Africa as a driver of sustainable development,” he said.

He further added that the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, under the leadership of Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, championed the development of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria (NDEPS). The Policy, anchored on Eight (8) Pillars, namely; Development Regulation; Digital Literacy and Skills; Solid Infrastructure, Digital Services Development and Promotion, Soft Infrastructure, Digital Society and Emerging Technologies; and Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.

He said these outlined strategies are to transform Nigeria into a leading digital economy providing quality life and digital economies for all.

Abdullahi averred that part of the activities of NITDA, as one of the implementing arm of the Ministry, is aimed at fast-tracking the realisation of the objectives of NDEPS.

“In the face of COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on business, governance and society, NITDA has been playing its role to ensure the opportunities presented are maximised for optimum benefit for Nigerians.

“We have organised Hackathons to discover innovative solutions and give our start-ups an opportunity to scale their ideas. Our Virtual Learning Programme of the NITDA Academy for Research and Training has so far attracted over 25,000 participants with over 22,000 active sessions. Our National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) project aimed at generating five million smart agriculture jobs across the value-chain is witnessing tremendous success.”

Abdullahi added that, “Data Protection efforts have created over 2,860 new job roles. We have done so much more in the areas of developmental regulations, digital literacy, job creation, deployment of ICT infrastructure, IT projects clearance process, implementation of Public Key Infrastructure amongst others.”

“It is therefore imperative at this time for Africa to step up in its drive towards digitization by developing and leveraging on new innovations and technology solutions that will drive the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the continent,” the DG concluded.

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