The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has emphasized the need for the government to foster technological talent among young Nigerians in order to advance the nation’s economic development.
According to Abdullahi, who recently spoke at a technology forum in Lagos, since NITDA was established in 2001, the organization has initiated, developed, and implemented a number of information technology (IT) policies that are promoting growth in the industry.
Driving Innovation: According to him, NITDA will continue to drive innovation in the IT sector, and develop tech skills, while taking advantage of the country’s youthful population.
- “ Nigeria has the advantage of developing into a digital economy, based on our population of over 200 million people, with youths forming 50 per cent of the population. Nigeria has the highest inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) coming into Africa through technology, and Nigeria has five among the seven unicorns in Africa ,” Abdullahi said.
NITDA to invest in startups: According to Abdullahi, “a recent Statista report, Nigeria had 20,360 startups operating as of December 2022. So by investing in these startups to help them further develop their knowledge and concepts, the economy will grow ”.
- He further stated that Nigerian startups were successful in obtaining sizeable amounts of funding from foreign grants the previous year and that the government still needs to support the startups’ development so they could expand and even export their talents and solutions outside of Nigeria.
- He also said that the world is in need of four million software developers and Nigeria can conveniently raise two million software developers if adequately trained and this will amount to earning millions of dollars for Nigerian youths while working for foreign companies from Nigeria. Developing Nigerian talents will lead to job creation in Nigeria.
NITDA’s achievements : He identified the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) programme as one of the achievements of the agency.
- “ Through some initiatives from NITDA like the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA), in collaboration with industry stakeholders, NITDA was able to train 900 Nigerians and created more than 5,000 direct and indirect jobs in Nigeria, ” he said.
He further noted that NITDA has trained more than three million Nigerians on poverty alleviation and financial inclusion and is still ongoing.
On-going work: He said NITDA has commenced the building of the Secretariat in Abuja for the implementation of the Startup Act, adding that the Secretariat would be completed by the end of March 2023. He also highlighted the ongoing d eveloping digital skills, stating:
- “ NITDA is also looking at developing Nigerian digital skills in the area of Blockchain technology that is expected to rake in about $1.7 trillion globally .
- “ NITDA is currently working to achieve 95 per cent digital literacy by 2030, as part of the federal government’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) implementation. ”
He called for collaboration with regional and global organizations to support the promotion of local ICT hubs and the development of the Nigerian startup ecosystem.
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