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Digital Economy: NITDA DG Engages Spanish Investors On Nigeria’s Soaring Market

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The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.
The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.

The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to digital literacy which, he said will, in the long run, bridge the global talent gap in the information communications technology (ICT) sector and place the country among technology-driven nations.

Abdullahi said this while speaking as a panellist at the just concluded Nigeria-Spanish Business and Trade Forum, in Madrid, Spain.

“Nigeria has talented youths and is blessed with one of the youngest populations in the world. By 2050 we will be the third most populous nation in the world. So, we are concerned about digital literacy, because the world is moving towards digital and knowledge-based economy and there is a global talent gap in ICT.”

The NITDA boss who noted that ICT is the third-largest sector in Nigeria told the forum that, so far, the Implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a digital Nigeria which was unveiled and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 28, 2019, has been phenomenally successful and made a monumental impact on the nation’s economy.

“The policy launch placed Nigeria on the global digital economy map and opened the doors for investors to come and invest in key sectors of the economy. Indeed, in the history of Nigeria, we have never had an administration which is ICT-friendly like the Buhari administration.”

The director-general also went further to explain the strategic pillars under the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) which are three of the pillars on which the NITDA focuses.

“Building infrastructure, talents (digital skills and literacy) and suitable environment for investments to thrive remain part of NITDA’s targets”.

Meanwhile, the DG informed the gathering that efforts to bring the Nigeria Startup Bill to a logical conclusion are intensified. 

He expressed optimism that upon getting the legal backing, the Bill will incentivise Nigerians and create a new market to encourage more investments and boost the sector’s contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

While commending the Federal Government for the change in the ministry’s mandate and nomenclature from communications to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in October 2019, Abdullahi stressed that although telecommunications is the biggest sector in Africa, Nigeria is the leading market.

He encouraged investors to take advantage of the country’s huge population, resourceful young minds and a soaring digital economy and invest without fear.

“Africa is virgin land. We don’t have the legacy infrastructure; So, you can easily invest and grow in many sectors,” the DG stressed.

Abdullahi hoped that achieving the ambiguous target of 95 per cent digital literacy by 2030 would go a long way in creating new markets for not just Nigerians but investors, both at home and abroad. 

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