The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has announced the agency’s plans to develop a Gender Digital Inclusion Strategy (DGIS).
Speaking at the United Nations International Women’s Day celebration in Abuja, Abdullahi revealed that the strategy will address the existing barriers that prevent women from fully participating in the IT sector and reaping the benefits of digital inclusion. The move aims to ensure greater gender parity in Nigeria’s digital economy by creating a more inclusive and diverse tech industry.
Abdullahi, who was represented by his special assistant on strategy and innovation, Mrs. Iklima Salihu, noted that innovation is a critical tool for implementing the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) and the DGIS will incorporate children, women, internally displaced persons and the physically challenged. NITDA plans to take specific steps to bridge the gap and empower all Nigerian citizens with digital skills. The agency has identified digital literacy and skills as a pillar for bridging the digital gender gap.
Abdullahi celebrated Nigerian female talents such as Kemisola Bolarinwa, founder of Next Wear Technology, a wearable/fashion technology company that designs and develops technology including the Smart Bra for breast cancer detection.
Also, it said that through the Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI), NITDA has supported 753 female and male-led start-ups through grants and sponsorships to local and global conferences and exhibitions, acceleration and incubation programmes.
Abdullahi expressed his concern about the striking absence of women’s representation in digital spaces, despite their competence and potential to contribute immensely to the field. He called for concerted efforts to promote gender equality and inclusivity in the digital world.
The Nigeria Startup Act will provide an enabling environment for local startups to harness the potential of the digital economy. Nigeria’s tech ecosystem, the Presidency and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy came up with the idea, which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari – a regulation which would, according to McKinsey, put Nigeria in a position to take advantage of the African Digital Economy estimated to be worth USD 300billion by 2025.