Technology

NIGERIA’S DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION FUTURE IS BRIGHTER, PROSPEROUS – DG NITDA

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The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, has stated that Nigeria’s digital transformation future would be “brighter and also offers hope of being prosperous.”

The NITDA’s boss expressed this optimism in Lagos while delivering his keynote address titled “Implementing a National Digital Transformation Agenda” at the ongoing Global Tech Africa 2023 with the theme “Facilitating Investments in Africa’s Digital Economy.  

The conference which provides a platform to bring together African and international stakeholders in technology to unlock growth opportunities for all, and build the tech ecosystem in Africa was put together by Ascend Studio Foundation and in partnership with NITDA, the U.S. Consulate, Venture Garden Group, Business Sweden, and RivExcel Health.

Inuwa disclosed that Nigeria’s greatest resource which he hinges his prediction on, is Nigeria’s abundant human capital which remains her greatest resource. He noted that many global reports have predicted that there would be a global talent crunch by 2030 that could affect the future of work but Nigeria can explore reimagining herself to become a global talent factory.

He said, “It is evident that Nigeria is not just positioned to be the global talent factory, but we are also set for investment and global collaboration because all developed countries will suffer from that deficit, including the United States of America. But Nigeria, we have one of the youngest populations in the world. We have the largest population in Africa; the largest economy; we have the market, and we have the youth, and we have natural talent. So, if we position ourselves, we can bridge that global talent deficit, and we can benefit from the 8.5 trillion USD digital transformation global Gross Domestic Product, (GDP.)

According to Inuwa, Nigeria’s focus is beyond the digital economy but the attainment of national digital transformation because of the pervasive nature of digital technology and its capacity to transform any industry power by digital technology. He emphasised that for the nation to benefit from this, “we need to position ourselves and design the economy to reap the benefit of digital transformation.”

He said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has mandated the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy to accelerate the nation’s economy by diversifying it in a way that would enhance productivity across all sectors through digital innovation. “Our mandate is not just about digital economy but the transformation of the digital space and how we can empower and enhance productivity across all sectors,” he noted.   

While emphasising the implementation strategy approach Nigeria has adopted to drive its digital transformation agenda, the NITDA boss said, the approach is on three fronts; “firstly, reimagining ourselves in the global economy, secondly, embrace and creation of values for our ecosystem because no one succeeds in isolation and lastly, improve connectivity.

He noted further that, with the new Minister’s five priority areas as contained in a document tagged “Accelerating our Collective Prosperity through Technical Efficiency, A Strategic Plan for the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation & Digital Economy,” the nation’s Strategic Agenda 2023-2027 to digital transformation would now be anchored on Knowledge; Policy; Infrastructure; Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Capital, and Trade.    

In his remarks at the conference, the United States Consular General, Mr. Will Stephen expressed that Nigeria’s strive for digital transformation is commendable and assured that with such gusto the nation is exhibiting, her digital transformation would soon blossom.

While commending Nigeria for various partnerships and collaborations it has forged with some American big tech companies, Mr. Stephen sued for continuous collaboration. He promised that America would ensure continuous collaboration with Nigeria in promoting her digital transformation agenda.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the Executive Trustee of Future Map Foundation, the convener of Global Tech Africa, Mr. Ahmad Shuaibu who was represented by Mrs. Farida Yahya disclosed that Africa would play pivotal roles in shaping the “unprecedented technological revolution” the world is currently witnessing.

According to her, the continent’s young and vibrant population with her rich natural resources and growing entrepreneurial spirit, provide a solid foundation for technological innovation.   

She noted that the Global Technology Africa Summit 2023 would serve as a powerful platform to showcase Africa’s technological prowess and connect innovators with investors, partners, and mentors. “This gathering of minds will undoubtedly spark new ideas, collaborations, and opportunities, propelling Africa’s technological journey to new heights, she opined.

The highlight of day one of the conference was the signing of the partnership agreement for the Startup Support and Engagement Portal between NITDA and Venture Group Garden, VGG.

The NITDA’s Director General described the agreement as a “milestone and exhilarating because it would provide Nigeria’s startups access to funding as enshrined in the Nigeria Startup Act 2022.

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