FG Engages Multinationals, Private Stakeholders To Boost Nation’s Digital Skills

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The Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has engaged multinationals and private organisations to develop and co-create a National Digital Skills Strategy (NDSS).

The NDSS is a policy document developed by NITDA under the directive of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami to bridge the digital skills gap in the country and develop a clear road map for the diversification of the nation’s economy and sustainability of its digital economy.

The engagement, which was held virtually, had representatives from International Business Machine (IBM), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Apple, Huawei, Meta, Oracle, Google, Cisco Software Inc. and many others.

While giving an insight into the genesis of the development of the NDSS during his remarks, the NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, disclosed that the agency, in collaboration with the Co-Creation Hub, undertook research to understand existing talent and skills which later resulted in the first draft of the NDSS.

Abdullahi assured that the NDSS will help re-position the country in alignment with global standards and to take full advantage of the digital economy benefits while identifying digital skills as a critical strategic pillar in the agency’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2021-2024 towards the implementation of the present administration’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

“In line with the digital literacy and skills pillar of NDEPS for a digital Nigeria, NITDA has set out a target of 1 million developers and skills by December 2023. Thus, [we have] rolled out several capacity building programmes targeted at people from different sectors of the economy,” he noted.

The NITDA DG added that many of the capacity-building programmes were conducted in collaboration with professional ICT bodies, international corporations and non-governmental organisations to provide stronger support for reskilling and upskilling for at-risk or displaced workers.

“As the apex information technology development and regulatory agency in the country, the collaboration of the agency with key multinational and private stakeholders in developing the NDSS will produce a robust strategy. The creation of the first draft by volunteer expert groups, talent gap assessment and co-creation with government stakeholders are some of the achievements made so far,” he revealed.

Also, Abdullahi urged everyone, especially stakeholders and other well-meaning Nigerians in the digital economy family to make inputs that would meet the unified mission and vision of the NDSS.

While expressing his belief in the promising outcome of the collaboration, Abdullahi stated that “this is a crucial milestone in our efforts to harmoniously engage with multinationals and private sectors as one of the key stakeholders for developing and co-creating the NDSS, and to come up with a comprehensive strategy for setting up standards and developing digital literacy and skills in the country, as well as developing IT professional skills of different proficiency levels,” he added.

In her remarks, the acting director of the digital literacy and capacity building department of NITDA, Dr. Amina Sambo-Magaji thanked all participants for their support and cooperation thus far, stating that the rule-making process (RMP) of NITDA has made provision for engagement in the development of the NDSS.

While noting that the selection of the multinationals and tech giants for the collaboration had been carefully done regarding their operations as individual organisations, she was confident that the co-creation of the NDSS will align with the document’s priority and consequently produce a robust one.

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