The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has emphasised the priority the agency places on empowering young people by creating an enabling environment to nurture and escalate their potential for the sustenance of the digital economy in the country.
Abdullahi made this declaration while giving a keynote address on “Problems, Possibilities and Potentials of Nigerian Youths” at the Youth Entrepreneurship Dialogue (YED) Global Entrepreneurship Week 2022, organised by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN).
Abdullahi applauded the nation’s young people for their consistent drive and enthusiasm towards the deployment of technological innovations in their various entrepreneurship ventures towards the progress and development of the Nigerian economy.
“The fact that Nigerian entrepreneurs, mainly youths, kept delivering on innovation and promoting inclusion, leading to positive socio-economic impact and economic growth, is an indication of their entrepreneurship dexterity. Indeed, entrepreneurs are and will remain the backbone of the Nigerian economy,” he conceded.
While expressing his empathy for the challenges faced by the ecosystem, Abdullahi assured of the Federal Government’s total support and commitment to the giant entrepreneurial strides taken by Nigerian youths through the provision of infrastructures, policies and initiatives that will create an enabling environment.
Disclosing NITDA’s commitment to promoting entrepreneurship and innovation-driven enterprises (IDEs) in the country, he stated that the agency developed its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP), with various initiatives deployed in collaboration with stakeholders to align the nation with the best global practices.
“NITDA has always been committed to driving youth entrepreneurship and we have continued to train and equip young, innovative Nigerians aspiring to realise their entrepreneurial dreams through strategic programmes,” he noted.
The DG listed the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support (TIES) scheme, the Idea Hatch (iHatch) incubation programme in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Bridge to MassChallenge (B2MC) as some of the initiatives adopted and deployed by the agency in supporting entrepreneurship and the creation of more IDEs.
Speaking on the Federal Government’s support for the promotion of entrepreneurship and the creation of more IDEs in the country, Abdullahi added that: “NITDA collaborated with the Office of the Vice President for the actualisation of the newly signed Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB) into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, which has now become the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA)”.
Describing the NSA as “one of the milestone achievements of the present administration”, Abdullahi charged youths in the country to take full advantage of the initiative while stating that the Act would give them limitless opportunities in harnessing the boundless benefits it offers.
The DG averred that the youths of the country are the most critical elements in the evolutionary process as they are the drivers of change with significant impact on the economic, social, political and cultural transformation in the country as well as globally.
“The youths, their talents, potentials, skills and capacities should be healthily and sufficiently channelled to the growth of the society. As a nation blessed with young and talented youths, Nigeria can attain economic independence, economic sustainability, and economic invulnerability, through enterprising our developed talents and potentials,” he added.