Indigenous ICT Contents: NITDA Deepens Collaboration With Start-ups 

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

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has deepened its collaboration with startups on promoting indigenous content in Nigeria’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector.

Speaking during the virtual maiden edition of the Innovation Ecosystem Engagement, NITDA’s director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, said the promotion of the indigenous content agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has remained one of the agency’s focal points. 

“The promotion of indigenous content, which is one of the strategic pillars of the agency’s Strategic Road Map and Action Plan 2021-2024 was designed specifically to create opportunities for the development of homegrown solutions to meet the country’s needs, as well as create wealth for the nation,” he said.

The NITDA boss, who expressed his excitement at the prospect of the event, stated that it was geared towards listening to active startup ecosystem players and proffering solutions on how NITDA can collaborate to mitigate the challenges being faced by the ecosystem, stressing that Nigeria cannot be great globally if she does not build locally. 

Abdullahi described the tech ecosystems as a “home” and empathetically stated that he understood the frustrations and challenges of local startups in the country because that was where he started from. 

“I started very early when I was in 200 level. I perfectly understand how rough the journey is. I know how important it is to have to enable policies and infrastructure and how painful it is to fail,” he pointed out. 

He, however, disclosed that currently, he has taken it upon himself to utilise all resources and opportunities at his disposal to make the tech ecosystem a more viable and better one.

While giving assurances of the present administration’s support towards the tech ecosystem, Abdullahi highlighted policies enacted such as the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy in 2019, the National Broadband Plan in 2020, the draft Start-ups’ bill for onward transmission to the National Assembly in 2021 and the launch of the 5G policy which was developed to create enabling environments for start-ups to thrive. 

He expressed his delight at the achievement attained by the local start-ups in building the most investment appealing ecosystem in Africa, attracting over 1.5B USD, a figure which he claimed represented 35 per cent of total investments in Africa in 2021 but urged them to take it global. “This is unprecedented, but for me, there is no passion playing small and settling for leading only in Africa if we can compete globally,” he opined. 

The NITDA helmsman disclosed that the agency is currently rebranding and recalibrating its activities to align with the ecosystem, noting that “a symbiotic relationship with local start-ups is essential to foster the economic development of the country. 

“You need the government and the government needs you. Together, we can do great things. Together, we can redefine, create and shape our tomorrow,” he added.

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