Director-General and CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has said that the Federal Republic of Nigeria is working tirelessly to accelerate the digital transformation agenda.
He said this while delivering a keynote address on the theme “Implementing a National Digital Transformation Agenda”, on the first day of the Global Tech Africa (GTA) Conference held on 17th November, 2023 in Lagos.
The conference which provides a platform to bring together African and international stakeholders in technology to unlock growth opportunities for all, and build the tech ecosystem in Africa was put together by Ascend Studio Foundation in partnership with NITDA, the U.S. Consulate, Venture Garden Group, Business Sweden, and RivExcel Health.
According to Inuwa, Nigeria’s focus is beyond the digital economy but the attainment of national digital transformation because of the pervasive nature of digital technology and its capacity to transform any industry power by digital technology. He emphasised that for the nation to benefit from this, “we need to position ourselves and design the economy to reap the benefit of digital transformation.”
He said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has mandated the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy to accelerate the nation’s economy by diversifying it in a way that would enhance productivity across all sector through digital innovation.
While emphasising the implementation strategy approach Nigeria has adopted to drive its digital transformation agenda, the NITDA boss said, the approach is in three fronts. “Firstly, reimagining ourselves in the global economy, where 60% of the population is digitally native under the age of 25. Secondly, embracing the creation of values for our ecosystem because no one succeeds in isolation and lastly, improve connectivity.
On how Nigeria can embrace a value-based ecosystem, Inuwa said, “we have the five national digital transformation agendas. The first agenda is knowledge. Knowledge is the foundation upon which countries have a sustainable economy.”
He noted further that, with the new Minister’s first priority areas as contained in a document tagged “Accelerating our Collective Prosperity through Technical Efficiency, A Strategic Plan for the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation & Digital Economy,” the nation’s Strategic Agenda 2023-2027 to digital transformation would now be anchored on Knowledge; Policy; Infrastructure; Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Capital, and Trade.
The Director commended Dr Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy for launching the 3MTT initiative (Three Million Tech Talents) which started with about 30 000 Nigerians who are ready to explore tech opportunities.
“We need to have a digital literate populace for them to use these digital services. Our target is to achieve 70% by 2027 and we have put in place a digital literacy framework to achieve this.
“We are looking at certain policies we want to implement. We are positioning ourselves as an immediate research advocate in six emerging technologies, arti1cial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain, Internet of things, unmanned aerial vehicles, and additive manufacturing.
He added that, in terms of infrastructure, infrastructure is the backbone upon which all these other priorities rest. We have so many initiatives, we have the Nigerian Broadband plan. There is a massive investment in broadband and we are also working on other digital infrastructures.
Inuwa however noted that, “Africa is the next frontier of digital transformation because we have a youthful population that is tech savvy. We need more investments in Africa to solve our problems.
The youth would provide the talent needed to leapfrog us to the next frontier since talent is the people component of technology.”