The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has agreed to collaborate with the International Financial Corporation (IFC) by co-creating robust regulatory frameworks in implementing government policies aimed at digitally transforming the country and sustaining a vibrant digital economy.
The NITDA Director General, Kashifu Inuwa gave this hint when he played host to a delegation from the IFC, led by the corporation’s Senior Economist, Nadege D. Yameogo, PhD, at the corporate headquarters of the agency in Abuja.
Inuwa noted that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has mandated the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy to enhance productivity through technological innovation in diversifying the nation’s economy, stated that a strategic plan with 5 strategic pillars has been unveiled by the ministry to achieve this.
While enumerating the pillars as Knowledge, Policies, Infrastructure, Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Captial, and lastly, Trade, he explained that knowledge is the foundation upon which countries build a robust and sustainable economy and it was imperative to create an enabling environment where innovations and entrepreneurship ecosystem can thrive and commercialised globally.
“When we invest and we build the infrastructure, it will enable us to trade “made in Nigeria” products and services, as well as our greatest resource, which is our talent”, he reemphasized.
Inuwa further noted that the agency is re-crafting its Strategic Roadmap & Action Plan (SRAP) policy document in implementing the Ministry’s strategic plan of accelerating the country’s collective prosperity through technical efficiency.
Expressing his enthusiasm at having the visitors on board for the agency’s stakeholder engagement on re-crafting the agency’s SRAP, Inuwa mentioned that the aim is to co-design the document so that the ecosystem could co-create the strategy and implement it.
Noting that the document would have 8 strategic pillars, he said that Fostering Digital Literacy and Cultivating Talent will be the first pillar.
“We have the National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF) where we have a target of achieving 95% digital literacy by 2030, and we have a midterm target of 70% by 2027. So, in the designing of this strategy, we want to get the stakeholders that will execute because we want it to be a strategy for execution”, he said.
The NITDA DG expressed his optimism that with the population of youths in the country if well harnessed and cultivated, Nigeria could compete with any country globally in terms of rendering services.
He said that the agency was willing to bring all stakeholders on board in providing inputs on how to design the strategy and identify some legal frameworks for the second pillar which is to ‘Strengthen Policy Implementation and Legal Frameworks.’
While emphasizing the need for the country to invest in deep research of technology, he stated that the third pillar is about Building a Robust Technology Research Ecosystem.
“Remember the mandate is to enhance productivity in critical sectors, so we see the digital economy beyond just being within the IT sector. It is pervasive so our goal is to apply it in different sectors to increase productivity”, he noted.
Inuwa further disclosed that the fourth pillar is on Promoting Inclusive Access to Digital Infrastructure & Services which according to him, will bridge the digital divide in the country and ensure everyone has access to the safe and responsible use of digital devices and platforms.
“We have a target of 40% of women inclusion as well as people living with disability and children as well. We have different initiatives for all these demographic groups”, he added.
He stated that the fifth pillar is on Strengthening Cyber Security and Enhancing Digital Trust because it was important to build the trust of Nigerians through the development of legal frameworks for digital signatures and public key infrastructures.
Revealing the sixth pillar as Nurturing an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Inuwa asserted that investing in talents will create many innovative solutions for the health care, education and financial inclusion challenges the country is currently experiencing.
He mentioned that the seventh and eighth pillars are Forging Strategic Partnership & Collaboration, and Institutional Reform respectively, the NITDA DG stated that the agency’s willingness to build strategic partnerships with the visitors as well as building skill sets and cultivation of employee mindsets in carving a formidable agency.
“We believe we can learn from you and other organisations through strategic partnership and collaboration so that we can build strong institutions in Nigeria and Africa”, he concluded.
In her earlier remark, Ms. Yameogo expressed her excitement at collaborating with NITDA in the promotion and sustenance of the country’s digital economy.
She remarked that their priority area of interest is in the digital economy, stating that the developmental impact it can bring in terms of job creation, reducing regional disparities, creating opportunities for private investment and bringing more private capital into the country cannot be overemphasized.
Yameogo explained that digital infrastructure is an area that needs more attention, she maintained that it is an area where private investors can intervene in terms of Agri tech, Creative tech and Health care tech.