The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy is working to collapse the physical barriers in the context of trade for economic growth regardless of location through digital technology.
The Director General NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, represented by the Acting Director, Digital Economy Development Department (DED), Engr Salisu Kaka, stated this while delivering a goodwill message at the Maiden ‘Nigeria – Cote D’Ivoire Business Roundtable and Exhibition’ at the Margins of the 64th ECOWAS Summit in Abuja.
The Business Roundtable and Exhibition was a Public Private sector partnership co-hosted by the Nigerian Association of Chambers, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), on behalf of the organised private sector and the federal government of Nigeria, coordinated by the Economic, Trade and Investment Department of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The aim of the event was to propel a deeper private sector engagement as a remedy between the two West African countries. Nigeria hosted the maiden edition of the Roundtable and Exhibition on Saturday 9th December 2023 while Cote D’ Ivoire will host the second edition at the margins of the African cup of Nation (AFCON) competition in Cote D’ Ivoire come January 2024.
According to DG NITDA, “For Africa and Nigeria in particular to leap frog and develop, our economy has to leverage technology.”
Inuwa, while stating the opportunities in technology for economic growth said, “It is only technology that can give you the opportunity within the comfort of your zone to advertise, sell, and promote wherever you can think of. It can be a product, it can be a service or an idea”
He encouraged MSMEs, who are the drivers of the economy not only in Nigeria but globally to, embrace technology as that is the easiest way to increase their contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
This, he said, “is captured in the 5-pillar Strategic Agenda of the Honourable Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani. They are in pillars; #2, which is Policy. As an effective policy provides regulatory clarity and necessary incentives for an environment where businesses and innovators are empowered to grow. Pillar #3, which is Infrastructure; as building stronger digital infrastructure is beyond connecting people but centres on economic empowerment and creating opportunities for inclusion. And pillar #4, which is the Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Capital; as it provides a roadmap for Nigeria to harness the potential of these 3 pillars as catalysts for the transformation of Nigeria’s digital economy. It is the driving force behind the creation of an environment that encourages innovation, supports entrepreneurship, and allures the required capital to deliver on our ambitions.”
Speaking earlier during his welcome address, the Director, Economic, Trade and Investment Department of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H. E. Ambassador Akinremi Bolaji said, “the event would create a good platform for Nigeria to take assessment of her readiness, preparation, inter-Agency, and public private sector collaboration.”
Stating further, “our intention is to expand the presence of our private sector in Cote D’ Ivoire and the West African sub region.”
He said the event was conceived few weeks ago as a result of a meeting held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November between Ambassador Bolaji and the Ambassador of Cote D’ Ivoire, H. E Kalilou Taore as a result of the observation of the challenges in deepening economic relations between the two countries despite the effort to deepen relations. He mentioned that both countries do well politically but continues to nose dive in terms of trade.
Some organisations at the event were, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS); Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority(NEPZA); National Action Committee of AFCFTA; and many more.