As part of efforts to foster the implementation of the digital literacy and skills pillar of the Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) today virtually inaugurated the Government Stakeholders Engagement Committee for the Development of the National Digital Skills Strategy (NDSS).
In his comments, the NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, posited that collaborating with key government stakeholders to develop the NDSS will eminently assist in producing a very strong and encompassing strategy.
The NDSS inaugural engagement committee comprised representatives from relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), saddled with the responsibility to develop and co-create the National Digital Skills and Strategy (NDSS) which will focus on balancing the gaps between the digital skills supply pipeline and in-demand skill sets required for the future of work in Nigeria.
Represented by NITDA’s director of IT infrastructure solutions (ITIS), Dr. Usman Abdullahi, the NITDA boss noted that there was a call earlier for volunteer experts to conduct research in determining the talent gap assessment, adding that the assessment was carried out by Co-Creation Hub and culminated in the first draft of the NDSS.
He cited statistics from the 2021 World Bank, International Finance Corporation Report on the adoption rate of digital skills, which was projected to increase from 25 per cent to 45 per cent by 2030. “The demand for digital skills in sub-Saharan Africa shows a higher tertiary gross enrolment ratio (GER) of about 11 per cent and will result in an increased number of digitally literate graduates,” he said.
Abdullahi further stated that, with a population of over 200 million, Nigeria which accounts for 47 per cent of West Africa’s population, “has a significant brain capital advantage with a large youthful population of an average age of 19. Nigeria has a strong comparative advantage to leverage technology and use this opportunity to supply labour to the global market”.
He reiterated that NITDA has been driving the growth and regulation of the IT sector in the country, providing an enabling environment under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to boost the growth of the Nigerian ICT industry. These are targeted to maximise our socio-economic opportunities as we are leading our nation to embrace digital transformation and to achieve 95 per cent digital literacy penetration by the year 2030 as one of the critical key pillars and targets of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
Speaking earlier, the acting director of the digital literacy and capacity building department of the agency, Dr. Amina Magaji said: “We are in the era where skills can give you access to a job either physically, remotely or help you to start enterprises that can create jobs for the nation and the world at large”.
She emphasised that any certificate acquired without the right skill set would likely be disadvantageous to the person in this digital era. “This strategy is coming at a time when we are bridging the talent gap; not just in Nigeria but globally,” Magaji said.
She hailed NITDA’s rule-making process (RMP) as a means of encouraging the involvement of stakeholders in the development of strategic documents, hence the need for engagement.