The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has painted a promising picture of Nigeria’s digital transformation, declaring that the nation’s future in this realm is “brighter and also offers hope of being prosperous”.
Abdullahi expressed this optimism during his keynote address, titled “Implementing a National Digital Transformation Agenda”, at the ongoing Global Tech Africa 2023 in Lagos. The event, themed “Facilitating Investments in Africa’s Digital Economy,” served as a platform to unite African and international stakeholders in technology to unlock growth opportunities and foster the tech ecosystem in Africa.
Highlighting Nigeria’s greatest resource, Abdullahi underscored the abundance of human capital in the country, positioning Nigeria as a potential global talent factory. He pointed out that global reports predict a talent crunch by 2030 and Nigeria, with its young population, can capitalise on this to become a leading source of talent globally. The DG stated, “If we position ourselves, we can bridge that global talent deficit and benefit from the $8.5 trillion USD digital transformation global Gross Domestic Product (GDP)”.
Beyond a focus on the digital economy, Abdullahi emphasised the importance of achieving national digital transformation due to the pervasive nature of digital technology and its transformative capabilities across various industries. He highlighted President Bola Tinubu’s mandate to accelerate the nation’s economy through digital innovation and the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy’s commitment to this transformative agenda.
Abdullahi outlined the three-pronged approach Nigeria is adopting for its digital transformation agenda, including reimagining the country in the global economy, creating value for its ecosystem, and improving connectivity. He revealed that the nation’s Strategic Agenda 2023-2027 for digital transformation aligns with the new minister’s five priority areas: knowledge, policy, infrastructure, innovation, entrepreneurship and capital and trade.
The U.S. Consular General, Mr. Will Stephen, commended Nigeria’s strides in digital transformation and expressed assurance that with the nation’s current vigour, its digital transformation would soon flourish. He appreciated Nigeria’s collaboration with American tech companies and pledged continuous support and collaboration.
The first day of the conference saw the signing of a partnership agreement between NITDA and Venture Group Garden (VGG) for the startup support and engagement portal. Abdullahi described the agreement as a milestone, emphasising its significance in providing Nigerian startups access to funding as outlined in the Nigeria Startup Act 2022. The agreement marks a significant step in fostering a vibrant startup ecosystem in Nigeria.