In an effort to propel Africa into the forefront of the global digital revolution, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, has underscored the significance of collaboration and cooperation among African nations in leveraging technology for inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Inuwa, who was represented by Dr Aristotle Onumo, said this while addressing Council of African Information and Technology Agencies (CAITA) Meeting of the Smart Africa Initiative at GITEX Africa in Morocco, where representatives from various nations came together to discuss key issues pertaining to digital transformation and technology development on the continent.
The DG stressed the importance of alliance in addressing the challenges faced by African nations and harnessing the potential of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to drive socio-economic development.
He reiterated NITDA’s commitment to driving digital innovation and transformation in Nigeria, while also acknowledging the pivotal role played by the Smart Africa Initiative in fostering pan-African cooperation in the digital space.
Inuwa also said that Nigeria is investing heavily in digital skills development, with a number of initiatives aimed at training young people in the latest digital technologies.
He listed various initiatives undertaken by NITDA, such as National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NITDA), National Adopted School for Smart Education, Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support (TIES) Scheme, and Digital Literacy Programmes among others, to promote digital economy in Nigeria.
He further said Nigeria focuses on nurturing digital entrepreneurship and supporting startups through various programmes, especially the recently assented Nigeria Startup Bill (NSA), that will provide support to aspiring entrepreneurs and contributed to the growth of Nigeria’s thriving startup ecosystem.
He added that that these efforts have been instrumental in driving innovation, job creation, and inclusive growth across the country’s digital economy sector.
Recognising the importance of digital skills for the future workforce, Inuwa outlined Nigeria’s efforts in promoting digital literacy programmes to equip Nigerians with the necessary skills to participate actively in the digital economy and capitalise on emerging job opportunities.
He also expressed Nigeria commitment to collaborating with CAITA and other African nations to collectively address challenges and explore opportunities in the digital realm, while emphasising the need for increased investment in research and development, capacity building, and policy harmonisation to foster a vibrant and inclusive digital ecosystem across the African continent.
He said, “Nigeria is committed to the Africa Smart Alliance, and that it will continue working with other African countries to build a more inclusive and prosperous digital Africa. Nigeria is confident that the Africa Smart Alliance will help to bridge the digital divide on the continent, and that it will help to accelerate the pace of economic development in Africa.”
“The government’s efforts to build a strong digital economy, promote digital entrepreneurship, and improve digital skills are having a positive impact on Nigeria. The digital economy is growing rapidly, and there is a growing number of successful digital entrepreneurs in our country,” he added.
The meeting, which was held on Thursday, 1st June, 2023, was attended by representatives from 36 African countries, with objective to review progress of Africa Smart Alliance, and what each country is doing in the areas of digital economy, digital entrepreneurship, and job creation. It also provided an opportunity for African countries to share ideas and best practices on how to build a more inclusive and prosperous digital Africa.
Delegates are optimistic that the discussions held at the CAITA meeting will pave the way for collaborative efforts among African nations, leading to a more connected, innovative, and prosperous Africa in the digital age.
From L-R. Engr. Ya’u Garba, National Director, NCAIR, and Dr Aristotle Onumo, Ag. Director CPS, NITDA, at the just concluded GITEX Africa in Morocco.