The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has urged Nigerian students to exploit the boundless opportunities presented by evolving digital technologies to fully enjoy its benefits.
Delivering a keynote address at the annual National Innovation, Research and Software Summit 2021 organized by the National Association of Computer Students (NACOS) today at the NILE University, Abdullahi pointed out that the application of innovative technologies can yield a productive and vibrant economy when commercialized.
The NITDA boss stated that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has come up with many initiatives to create an enabling environment to diversify the economy by promoting indigenous content.
He added that the launch of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) and the redesignation of the Ministry of Communications to include the Digital Economy are part of concerted efforts made by the Federal Government with relevant stakeholders in actualizing Nigeria’s roadmap to a vibrant digital economy.
Abdullahi mentioned that, if correctly prepared for and applied, technology and innovation can have significant, positive impacts on the nation’s economy.
“As students, it is important for you to think of ideas and nurture them so that you can create wealth for yourself even before graduation, for you to be innovative, you commercialise your inventions,” he stated.
He, however, explained the importance of working as a team rather than in isolation, stating that a lot can be achieved as a team.
“It is important for you to co-found start-ups from ideas you have and work within the IT ecosystem. A lot can be achieved that way,” he said.
The NITDA helmsman emphatically stated that technology is categorized by increasingly capable systems, technology integration and the surveillance capitalism threatening people’s jobs, enabling the ability to connect to anything and creating a quantified society respectively ought to be sources of inspiration for students to create jobs and prosperity for themselves.
He added that, in line with the NDEPS, NITDA is working hard to bring about a vibrant digital economy through deliberate efforts such as digital literacy and skills, promotion of indigenous content, digital innovations and entrepreneurship.
“NITDA has developed infrastructures and initiatives, such as the establishment of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), Digital States Initiatives, Providing IT Hubs, Technology Innovation Entrepreneurship Support (TIES) schemes, amongst many others,” he noted.
Abdullahi disclosed that the agency is enthusiastic about working with universities, to build startups and develop potential entrepreneurs from the academic environment.
“This is a model we are trying to emulate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which is one of the leading universities in the production of entrepreneurs,” he stated.
He further highlighted the agency’s efforts in working with some universities on the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programmes (MIT-REAP), a global initiative of the MIT aimed at creating a viable IT ecosystem to produce a well-structured, developed economy.
“I want NACOS to key into these initiatives so that they can be inspired to build their innovative and entrepreneurial capacity in the innovation ecosystem”, the DG concluded.
Earlier in his remarks, the president of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Adesina Sodiya, expressed his excitement in witnessing the commencement of the great event by the National Association of Computing Students.
He gave his assurances that the NCS remains committed to promoting rapid national growth by providing necessary technical and professional support to technology providers.
“The society will continue to support and promote technological development and Information Technology businesses for sustainable development of our nation,” he added.