The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has emphasised that the digital age provides a unique opportunity for Nigeria and Africa to emerge as global leaders in the fourth industrial revolution.
Abdullahi believes that by harnessing the abundant human talent that the continent possesses, Africa can take the lead in this global transformation. He made these remarks during his address at the Commonwealth Youth and Students Summit (CYSS) for the African region held in Abuja.
The five-day event, organised by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development in partnership with NITDA and other relevant stakeholders, commemorated 50 years of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. The summit focused on the theme “Co-creating our Common Future: Leadership in the Digital Age in Africa”.
The NITDA helmsman highlighted three key steps for Africa to leverage its unique potential. Firstly, he emphasised the importance of embracing digital innovation. By utilising technology, Africa can address the various challenges it faces and create impactful solutions. Abdullahi stressed that digital technology serves as an enabler for problem-solving.
Secondly, he emphasised the need to invest in talent. According to Korn Ferry, by 2030, there will be a global talent deficit of 85 million individuals. Developed countries will experience this deficit, ranging from 6 to 8 million talents, with only India having a surplus of 1 million talents. However, Abdullahi expressed confidence that Africa can bridge this gap and become a global talent factory, providing the necessary skills to meet the demand.
Thirdly, Abdullahi highlighted the importance of creating a credible digital ecosystem that fosters co-creation and synergy in decision-making processes. He stated: “At NITDA, we believe in co-creation and we have been a youth-centred Agency. All our activities are built around the youths and we co-create our policies and regulations with the ecosystem.” Abdullahi emphasised that NITDA has developed a playbook that ensures the active participation of youths in the digital ecosystem. This playbook includes steps such as clarifying initiatives, training one million developers, building trust between the government and the ecosystem and striving to win in the digital age.
He concluded by emphasising the rapid arrival of the digital future and the need for Africa to position itself for success. He reiterated NITDA’s commitment to youth empowerment and the co-creation of policies and regulations that support the digital transformation of Africa. By harnessing abundant human talent and embracing digital innovation, Africa can lead the way in the global digital age and create a prosperous future for its people.