The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has partnered with Business Sweden on a talent development initiative aimed at promoting trade and entrepreneurship for Nigerian youths.
Business Sweden is a government and private sector platform that helps Swedish and international companies leverage their strengths to promote green, inclusive and digital growth.
During a courtesy visit to the NITDA headquarters in Abuja, the Deputy Ambassador of Sweden in Nigeria, Mr. Joran Bjallerstedt proposed the partnership to NITDA’s director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.
Abdullahi welcomed the proposal and reaffirmed NITDA’s readiness to partner with Business Sweden to explore avenues for talent development.
Abdullahi noted that Nigeria is positioning itself to thrive in the information technology ecosystem with the Startup Act and the government is working on the nation’s outsourcing strategy. The National Digital Skills and Strategy is also in motion to make Nigeria the global talent factory.
“The Startup Act positions Nigeria to thrive in the Information Technology ecosystem and President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, is scheduled to inaugurate the Council for the Startup Act as the apex body responsible for implementing the Nigerian Startup Act,” he remarked.
Abdullahi affirmed that Nigeria has the required talent to nurture and train its citizens to fit into the best digital offerings the world has to offer, given the nation’s youthful population. He also explained NITDA’s function as a government regulatory agency, stating that regulations are meant to enable and not stifle innovation.
“NITDA launched a regulatory intelligence framework to raise awareness and gather intelligence for dynamic regulation. Our regulations aim to create markets, enable innovation, protect customers and improve service delivery,” he added.
The NITDA boss listed waste management, transportation and logistics, financial inclusion and agriculture as some of the issues of concern in Nigeria and assured that efforts are ongoing to build clusters for business process outsourcing (BPO) to address the lack of job opportunities for graduates.
The agency is also in many other partnerships geared towards digital skill acquisition with MIT-REAP, Google, CISCO and others.
Abdullahi recommended that his special assistant on digital transformation, Dr. Aminu Lawal be the contact person for all initiatives identified to partner with Business Sweden on clusters for business process outsourcing, innovation hubs and agriculture.
According to Lawal, the agency has undergone several internal reforms. He also disclosed that the Global Tech African Conference preliminary session would take place in Lagos in July 2023, while the main conference would be held on November 27, 2023.
The director-general for Business Sweden West Africa, Anthonia Adenaya commended NITDA’s efforts in enabling a formidable digital economy, particularly the recently assented Start-up Bill. She added that NITDA’s objectives align with Business Sweden, which is a powerhouse of innovation, sustainability, co-creation and equality.
Adenaya agreed that there are lots of talents in Nigeria, especially when it comes to trade talent which her organisation is willing to export to Sweden. She also disclosed that Business Sweden is in a relationship with Ericson and has trained mechanics and drivers in Ghana. It equally has an MOU with France.
The proposed training format is project-specific and tailored to fit a particular company’s specifications and requirements. Students are trained from the perspective and vision of the company so that they are ready to be exported into the system.
The partnership between NITDA and Business Sweden is a step in the right direction towards promoting talent development and creating more job opportunities for Nigerian youths. With the government’s commitment to the Startup Act and the National Digital Skills and Strategy, Nigeria is well on its way to becoming a global talent factory.