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NITDA reaffirms commitment to positioning Nigeria as global talent hub

Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA (r), During a Fireside Chat Session, Moderated By Alex Onukwue at the TechCabal's Moonshot Event in Lagos       Photo: NITDA

*Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, restates the regulatory agency’s commitment to driving Nigeria’s digital future, fostering innovation, and positioning the country as a global hub for tech talent and entrepreneurship

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has reiterated regulatory agency’s commitment to driving Nigeria’s digital future, fostering innovation, and positioning the country as a global hub for tech talent and entrepreneurship.

NITDA stated that Inuwa made the reaffirmation during a fireside chat session, moderated by Alex Onukwue, a reporter with Semafor at the TechCabal’s Moonshot event which held in Lagos State.

Sharing insights into his role and the agency’s transformative vision for Nigeria’s digital landscape, the Director-General of the agency analysed the different strategic approaches adopted by the Agency, noting that, with a vision for inclusive growth, NITDA is working towards realising Nigeria’s vast potential in the digital age.

He also said: “NITDA, established in 2001 was initially aimed to bridge the digital divide in Nigeria, where less than 500 Nigerians had access to computers but in the early 2000s, only 0.05% of Nigeria’s GDP was attributed to information technology. “However, NITDA’s interventions have significantly transformed the landscape, with over 50% of the Nigerian population now having access to computers through their mobile phones.”

Inuwa further explained how NITDA’s mandate shifted in 2019, focusing not only on digital adoption but on leveraging technology for economic growth and development as he highlighted the agency’s new strategy blueprint to encompass five strategic pillars: knowledge, policy, infrastructure, innovation, and trade.

He disclosed “one key focus has been building trust and collaboration between the government and the tech ecosystem, promoting engagement, and co-development of policies and laws.

“This is important because if the government and the ecosystem are working together with each having their unique strength, when combined, can drive positive change.”

When discussing the implementation of the Nigeria Digital Innovation Fund, the Director-General reechoed the importance of a smooth transition, stressing that despite some challenges, NITDA is working to reconvene the council and present the funding model to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship.

Another front which engaged the attention of the DG was the emigration of talents from Nigeria, where Inuwa shared a bold vision for retaining talent within the country.

According to Inuwa, “Nigeria can become a talent net exporter by providing opportunities, training, and access to global markets, adding that, with the right policies and supportive environment, Nigeria could retain its talented workforce while also being a source of talent for the world.

Inuwa asserted: “The global demand for tech talents is enormous, and Nigeria has the potential to play a significant role in filling this talent gap, given the competitive advantages, such as a youthful population, advantageous time zones, and a growing tech ecosystem, making it a prime destination for tech talents”, the Director-General added.

The discussion which delved into multiple topics also brought to the fore, local governments’ involvement in the entire process of fostering innovation and entrepreneurship as Inuwa expatiated NITDA’s model for partnering with training providers to reach a broader audience.

“The agency plans to launch a call for applications for training providers and aims to connect participants with job opportunities. Additionally, NITDA is working on digitising government services and developing the digital public infrastructure to create more job opportunities within the digital ecosystem”, Inuwa noted.

NITDA described the Moonshot by TechCabal as the flagship conference of Africa’s leading publication providing definitive coverage of technology, innovation and start-ups across the continent.

The event, which is a completely physical, brought together the most audacious thinkers and doers on the continent and beyond to brainstorm and collectively find  solutions to Africa’s most challenging problems, said the agency.

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