The deployment of digital technologies is a necessary fundamental tool in the implementation of the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals to make the world a better and safer place and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), is set to train one million developers in various areas of application development in the next eighteen months. This, according to the Director General of the Agency, Kashifu Inuwa CCIE would be done in collaboration with various stakeholders in the ecosystem with the ambition of making Nigeria the hub of digital talent in Africa.
The DG who spoke through the Ag. Director of the Agency’s Corporate Planning and Strategy department, Dr. Aristotle Onumo as a theme speaker at the Global Digital Economy Summit organised by the Junior Chamber International Nigeria (JCIN) which was held at D’podium Event Centre, Lagos urged everyone to take advantage of the various opportunities provided by the government .
While expressing his delight at the theme of the event, ‘Digital Transformation-Defining our success pillars’, he asserted that the purpose of the event clearly aligns with the agenda of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR in sustaining the digitization of Nigeria.
“I am indeed delighted with the theme of this summit which aptly captures the main essence of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) and resonates with the goal of our strategic road map and action plan 2021-2024”, he said.
Describing digital transformation as a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, Inuwa averred that adoption and use of digital technologies will provide unprecedented opportunities which the private and public sectors can leverage on to increase their productivity and market access. While emphatically stating the Nigerian government’s commitment to the growth of the country’s digital system, the NITDA boss stated that several programs and initiatives have been designed by the Federal Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy and NITDA to increase the level of digitisation and digitalisation in public and private institutions.
He further argued that the ongoing implementation of the NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan 2021-2024 which was developed to harness the vast opportunities and growth potentials of the digital tech sector has accelerated Nigeria’s digital transformation.
“As an Agency working towards the Digital transformation agenda of this present administration as contained in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), we have initiated the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support (TIES) Scheme that will encourage more innovation-driven startup ventures to be formed, with an emphasis on indigenous technologies”, Inuwa disclosed.
Laying emphasis on the Agency’s commitment in ensuring that citizens are empowered with Information Technologies, Inuwa disclosed that the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) was established to develop an army of IT proficient and globally competitive manpower as part of its contribution to the successful implementation of the Digital Transformation Policy.
“NCAIR represents government’s determination to create a suitable environment for technology innovation, transformation, incubation, and discovery while harnessing the abundant creative ideas of Nigeria’s teeming youth population for national development through the promotion of innovative technologies”, he said.
Asking all youths to be innovative driven in order to benefit maximally from government initiatives, the NITDA DG stated that the Agency has engaged in various collaborations in securing grants to support startups to a tune of three hundred million naira and have also sponsored startups to various international fora which according to him will give young entrepreneurs global visibility.
Giving more insights into the Agency’s continued efforts at implementing Digital skills and literacy, a pillar of the SRAP, Inuwa stated that 500,000 people have been trained in various areas of digital skills, 1,650 students trained in IT essential across 30 institutions of higher learning while underserved communities, children, women and people living with disabilities are beneficiaries of digital inclusion programmes of the Agency.
He therefore urged everyone to take advantage of the various opportunities being provided by the government in facilitating the adaptation and adoption of digital technologies to create value for Nigerians. “Digital transformation is a journey, we have set of our strategic road map and action to proactively develop Nigeria into a sustainable digital economy, we therefore call on all stake holders to join hands with us to create a digital future for our great nation”, he concluded.