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NITDA To Enhance Nigeria’s Digital Future Through International Standards Implementation

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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.

The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has emphasised the importance of building digital trust and implementing international standards to bolster the country’s digitisation policies.

Abdullahi articulated this vision during a digital policy workshop organised by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in Abuja.

Addressing the audience, Abdullahi underscored NITDA’s pivotal role in setting standards for digital transformation and highlighted the timeliness of the event. He expressed confidence that the workshop would deepen collaboration between NITDA, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the British Government, ultimately contributing to enhancing digital trust and adoption in Nigeria.

Highlighting the directives from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to accelerate economic diversification through technological innovation, Abdullahi mentioned that the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani had unveiled a strategic plan with five pillars: knowledge, policy, infrastructure, innovation (entrepreneurship & capital) and trade.

Expanding on NITDA’s strategic roadmap and action plan with eight pillars, Abdullahi emphasised the agency’s commitment to building digital trust across various sectors. He stressed the importance of having standards and guidelines for digital services, particularly in the context of the ministry’s target for NITDA to develop standards for the Nigerian digital public infrastructure.

“To achieve that, we need to have a standard and a guideline for building our services and digital offering, and that explains why, as part of the Ministry’s target set for NITDA, which was to develop a standard for the Nigerian digital public infrastructure, we need international collaboration to get the job done,” said Abdullahi.

In addressing the challenges faced in Nigeria, especially in e-commerce and online transactions, Abdullahi acknowledged the negative impact on trust. However, he expressed hope that the adoption of international standards could restore confidence and trust in digital transactions in Nigeria. He outlined the vision for automated transactions and electronically generated invoices, emphasising the need for international collaboration with organisations like the SON and bodies like the BSI.

“We look forward to building a stronger and mutually productive relationship and being a part of the global ecosystem,” concluded the DG.

The team lead of the British Standards Institution (BSI), Dr. Nigel Croft welcomed guests and commended the collaboration. He highlighted the upcoming training sessions for stakeholders in the standards sector of Nigeria, aiming to adopt standards in line with global best practices.

The workshop featured key presentations, including NITDA’s presentation on “Key Opportunities and Challenges in Nigeria’s Digitisation initiatives”. Other presentations were made by representatives from the British Standards Institution and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria. The event facilitated a roundtable discussion segment, allowing participants to share experiences, discuss challenges and opportunities, and explore ways to transform public services via international standards.

Stakeholders expressed optimism that the conclusions and recommendations from the workshop would inform actionable steps toward realising the anticipated gains in Nigeria’s digital landscape.

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