A delegation from the Zambian digital economy sector has arrived in Nigeria to study Nigeria’s National Public Key Infrastructure (NPKI), which is managed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
The delegation from the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority, led by Mr. Austin Sichinga expressed its interest in Nigeria’s NPKI model, considering it “the most adaptable and adoptable” among African countries.
Sichinga stated, “We are eager to engage and learn as much as we can here. The diversity within our team and the portfolios we brought along signify how much we value this project. We intend to implement it for secured transactions and ensure we are moving in the right direction.” He further explained that the Zambian government aims to focus on digital transformation and trade partnerships with other countries, emphasising the need to be prepared with services and secure platforms for interactions across borders.
NITDA’s director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi commended the Zambian government for taking the initiative to study Nigeria’s NPKI. He emphasised the importance of collaboration and the need for African countries to work together in the digital realm, as digital technology knows no boundaries. Abdullahi highlighted that NITDA has developed a Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) for 2021-2024, with the NPKI falling under the ‘developmental regulation’ pillar.
Regarding regulation, Abdullahi clarified that NITDA’s role is to enable innovation rather than stifle it. The agency is developing regulations on PKI as part of its sub-legislation powers. Abdullahi explained that NITDA’s focus is on the Certificate Authority (CA) route and the provision of certificates for different sectors. He also emphasised the need to commercialise services like digital trust to build confidence in e-commerce platforms.
While discussing NITDA’s SRAP, Abdullahi urged the Zambian delegation to develop policy documents that would serve as guidelines for monitoring and tracking the progress of PKI implementation and other digital transformation initiatives. He mentioned that previous visits from Ghana, Gambia, and Kenya to NITDA have been the motivation for the agency, as it demonstrates recognition of their efforts outside the country. Abdullahi also revealed that NITDA is working on a playbook to be shared with other African countries to facilitate a strong digital economy across the continent.
In concluding the visit, Abdullahi encouraged the Zambian delegation to initiate approaches that would make Zambia digitally independent and stressed the importance of building the capacity of their citizens.
During the visit, NITDA’s director of information technology infrastructure solutions, Dr. Usman Gambo provided an overview of the agency’s mandates, highlighting its role in developing, regulating, and advising the government on information technology. The journey towards implementing the NPKI started in 2012 and has seen significant progress.
The cyber security department of NITDA, responsible for managing the NPKI, presented the benefits, architecture, policies, implementation strategies, types of certificates, and stakeholders involved in the NPKI.
The visit concluded with a tour of NITDA’s facilities, providing the Zambian delegation with a comprehensive understanding of Nigeria’s NPKI model and its implementation.