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NITDA, NCC urge IT stakeholders to collaborate, address infrastructure deficits in nurturing tech startups

Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director-General of NITDA (4th from left), in a Group Photograph at the NITDA Co-Create Conference and Exhibition at Eko Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos        Photo: NITDA

*Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, and Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, at a recent IT event in Lagos, urge the participants to evolve a strategic partnership, create an enabling environment, address infrastructure deficits, and collaborate to develop the country’s technology ecosystem

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The commitment to nurturing an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nigeria by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) received a major boost at the recent NITDA Co-Create West Africa Tech Expo, held in Lagos.

ConsumerConnect reports NITDA said the event organised in partnership  with GAGE Award was designed to showcase innovative businesses locally and across the globe with physical presence in Nigeria.

Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC

According to the Information Technology (IT) sector regulatory agency, the show in Lagos with the theme, “Evolve”, was in line with its Strategic Road-map and Action Plan 2.0.

Speaking at the event, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, Director-General of NITDA, in his keynote address at the event which has its theme as “Evolve” averred that both the government and ecosystem need to work together to nurture the younger ones and help them to transform their ideas from conceptualisation to impact.

“We need to help our start-ups to have access to capital for that will enhance their ideas and provide platform for them to network and learn from the ecosystem,” stated Inuwa.

While acknowledging that the Nigerian Start-up Act Implementation is one of the several initiatives under the pillar, the NITDA Chief urged the participants to forge a strategic partnership and collaborate to develop the ecosystem.

The Director-General also said: “This event is one of them. This is a private-public partnership. We co-created the conference, and the conference itself is to promote co-creation.

“We do a lot of these activities. We believe no one should live in isolation, so we need to work as an ecosystem to create value together.”

Inuwa equally used the occasion to share the NITDA’s new Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan 2024-2027, which is in sync with one of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s defined priority areas of “Accelerating Diversification through Industrialisation and Digitisation” with the participants who were majorly IT stakeholders and tech enthusiasts.

He maintained that for the ecosystem to succeed, stakeholders must join hands with government to build a strong institution which could only be achieved by transforming government’s services into solutions.

“I want to invite you to embrace the spirit of cooperation and collaboration.

“If you and government can work together, we can do better things; because there are things you can do, government cannot do and there are things government can do, you cannot do, but together, we can do greater things,” the NITDA Chief Executive noted.

The agency said its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan, billed to be unveiled in the first quarter (Q4) of 2024, provides for eight pillars.

These are: Foster Digital Literacy and Cultivate Talents, Robust Technology Research Ecosystem, Strengthen Policy Implementation and Legal Framework, and Promote Inclusive Access to Digital Infrastructure and Services.

Others include Strengthen Cybersecurity and Enhance Digital Trust, Nurture an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Forge Strategic Partnerships and Collaboration and Cultivate a Vibrant Work Culture and an Agile Workforce in NITDA.

How Nigeria should approach global tech market, by Maida, NCC EVC

In his goodwill message on the occasion, Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), advised that Nigeria should approach the tech global market with a clear understanding of its strengths, challenges and realistic potential.

Maida, represented at the event by Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, observed though the country possesses three-prong comparative advantage of vibrant and youthful population, strategic location, and the gateway to African market, Nigeria must be ready to also confront the challenges that threaten to impede its progress.

The EVC/CEO of NCC as well identified infrastructure deficits, unreliable power supply and poor Internet connectivity as some of the barriers that affect investor and innovators.

Maida admonished that Nigeria should focus on “fostering an enabling environment that nurtures innovation, promotes entrepreneurship and addresses the underlying infrastructure and infrastructure challenges.”

He stated: “The nation must leverage unique strengths  such as a deep understanding of local markets to develop solutions that address the needs and preferences of not just African consumers but the world at large.”

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Mr. Johnson  Aroh, Convener, GAGE Award, described that the NITDA Co-Create West Africa is more than just a showcase of the latest technological concepts that exist in the ecosystem but a platform that fosters creativity, drives digital transformation and builds the ecosystem where ideas flourish.

Aroh stated that the conference would offers a rare privilege of experiencing first-hand cutting edge solutions and groundbreaking projects that embody the spirit of technological excellence and ingenuity.

The event Convener also said: “Let us embrace the diversity of perspectives and expertise that enrich our collective understanding of technology transformative power.

“Together, we can chart the course toward the future of technology as a force for driving positive change and empowering individuals and communities across Africa.”

He also commended NITDA the leadership for its vision in co-creating the event, saying, the Agency’s unwavering commitment to promoting technological innovation and digital inclusion have been instrumental in the level the that Nigeria has attained today.

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