NITDA DG Urges Inclusivity As Guiding Principle In Digitalisation

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

In its relentless pursuit of collaboration and partnerships with stakeholders, raising awareness about its programmes and extending the benefits of its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024), the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has emphasised the significance of an all-inclusive approach to achieving optimal outcomes.

Represented by the agency’s director of zonal offices directorate, Ajayi Ayodimej, the DG made this assertion during a one-day stakeholder workshop held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom. The event, organised in collaboration with the state’s Ministry of Science and Technology, aimed to foster collaboration, visibility and opportunities for states to leverage NITDA’s roadmap.

Abdullahi highlighted NITDA’s role as a guiding light during Nigeria’s digitalisation and entrepreneurial evolution. He affirmed the agency’s commitment to providing an enabling environment, support framework and collaborative platform to empower stakeholders as drivers of transformative change.

“Digitalisation occurs when digital technology integrates into every facet of society. It’s not just a buzzword; it catalyses significant changes across industries, altering how we conduct business, manage health, educate and even govern,” stated Abdullahi. He stressed that digitalisation brings improvements, eliminates obstacles and unveils new opportunities for societal transformation.

The theme of the event, “Creating Opportunities, Breaking Boundaries: Towards Digitalization and Entrepreneurial Evolution,” resonated with Abdullahi as he highlighted the importance of charting a course that redefines industries, empowers individuals and shapes Nigeria’s future. He underlined how digital technologies impact business processes and decision-making locations, fostering flexibility and agility.

NITDA’s DG discussed the agency’s efforts to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, exemplified by the establishment of the Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI) and the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR). These special purpose vehicles (SPVs) have supported startups through technology incubation, acceleration programmes and student training. Nigeria’s innovation ecosystem has attracted substantial investments, fostering successful startups, including unicorns.

Abdullahi underscored that nurturing innovation and resilience in adversity is pivotal for entrepreneurial evolution. He emphasised the role of multi-stakeholder collaboration in creating an environment that fosters creativity, cushions risks and rewards innovation.

“Our digital landscape brims with untapped ideas ready to be transformed into impactful solutions. Every conversation, partnership, and shared resource contributes to unlocking these opportunities,” stated the director-general.

He reiterated NITDA’s commitment to fostering equitable access to technology through initiatives like the National Digital Equality Strategy for Women (NDESW) and the National Digital Skills Strategy (NDSS).

The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Imoh Moffat, represented by the director of information and communication technology (ICT), Lawson David, outlined the ministry’s focus areas. These encompass embracing the digital revolution, nurturing innovation, empowering the digital workforce, bridging the digital divide and enhancing cyber security.

Moffat expressed confidence that NITDA stakeholders have the potential to drive innovation and establish Nigeria as a global digital leader.

The event, characterised by panel discussions, informative presentations, keynote addresses, interactive sessions, and the adoption of a communique, underscored NITDA’s mission to engage stakeholders at sub-national levels. By adhering to its core values of “People first, innovation and professionalism,” NITDA aspires to become a process-driven, data-dependent and results-oriented organisation.

With participation from 81 individuals representing various stakeholder groups in the digital economy sector, including ICT experts, government representatives, academia, startups and technology solution providers, the engagement exemplified NITDA’s efforts to pool knowledge, experience, and expertise for the mutual advancement of Nigeria’s digital economy.

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