In the contemporary global system, digital economy has emerged as a key driver of growth and development. Countries across the world are harnessing the power of technology to spur economic advancement, job creation, and innovation. Nigeria, a nation with immense potential, has taken significant strides towards realising its digital future through President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, which underscores the need to harness technology for socio-economic advancement. At the heart of this transformation is Kashifu Inuwa, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
In the last four years, he has been instrumental in driving NITDA’s mission of promoting the development and regulation of the information technology sector in Nigeria. As a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) with a deep understanding of technology and its socio-economic impacts, combining his expertise with commitment to innovation and brought his wealth of technical experience to the country’s digital transformation journey.
NITDA has played a significant role in shaping policies and frameworks that are conducive to the growth of Nigeria’s digital economy. The agency has worked tirelessly to foster a supportive ecosystem for technology start-ups and entrepreneurs, laying the foundation for innovation to thrive. Through strategic partnerships with both local and international organisations, the agency has facilitated knowledge exchange, technology transfer, and investment opportunities, positioning Nigeria as a hub for digital innovation in Africa.
It’s multifaceted approach to advancing Nigeria’s digital economy revolves around its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024) namely Developmental Regulation; Digital Literacy and Skills; Digital Transformation; Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship; Cybersecurity; Emerging Technologies and; Promotion of Indigenous Content.
The Agency has been instrumental in driving the expansion of digital infrastructure across Nigeria. Initiatives such as the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework (Ne-GIF), Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture (NGEA), Nigeria Startup Act, among others, to foster an ecosystem that prioritises digital inclusion, innovation, and data-driven governance.
Furthermore, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programmes spearheaded by the DG have provided a platform for startups to flourish; offering grants, mentorship, and access to resources to nurture a culture of innovation, resulting in groundbreaking solutions that address local challenges and drive economic growth.
To safeguard Nigeria’s digital assets, the agency championed data privacy and cybersecurity through regulatory instrument like the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), which gave birth to the Nigeria Data Protection Commission. These efforts not only enhance trust in digital services but also attract foreign investments and partnerships.
NITDA is actively empowering the Nigerian workforce with the essential skills demanded by the digital age. Through a range of capacity-building initiatives, it is extending its reach to civil servants, journalists, students, corps members, women, and youth. This strategic effort is aimed at closing the gap in digital skills and enabling individuals to effectively engage in the burgeoning digital economy.
Inuwa unfolded the potentials in Nigerian farmers through Federal Government initiative of National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA), a project aimed at changing the face of agricultural sector in the country.
In addition to making an effort in IT development as well as enhancing the IT capacity of the citizenry, hundreds of IT Hubs, IT Parks, and Community ICT Centres were established, furnished and equipped with world class facilities across the states of the federation. The agency, through its strategic relations with techpreneurs, supported start-ups, IT hubs and ecosystems builders through Nigeria ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision (NIIEV).
Through his strategic vision, NITDA launched the National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF) which set the stage for the review of curriculum from the kindergarten to universities. NDLF also target to achieve 95 per cent digital literacy by the year 2030 which aligns with the vision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to create over one million jobs for youths in the digital economy sector.
The agency has attained impressive feats in propelling Nigeria’s digital economy forward through showcasing Nigeria’s capabilities at significant events like the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) held in Dubai and Morocco, as well as the LEAP event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Numerous Nigerian startups have excelled in these events, securing prizes that empower them to become creators of jobs rather than job seekers.
At the heart of the President’s “Renewed Hope” agenda lies a comprehensive blueprint for rejuvenating Nigeria’s economy. This holistic vision encapsulates the aspirations of a nation that yearns for sustainable development and quality of life for all citizens. Central to this vision is the recognition that a thriving digital economy is instrumental in achieving these goals.
– Umar, writes from Abuja
President Tinubu believes that equitable access to technology is pivotal in bridging societal divides and creating opportunities. To this end, initiatives are being launched to provide digital literacy programmes in schools, training centers, and rural communities.
The transformational power of technology is amplified when supported by robust digital infrastructure.
With the President’s Renewed Hope agenda and the DG’s consolidation at NITDA, Nigeria will indeed prioritise digital innovation, infrastructure, and skills development to have a greater accomplishment, and emerge as a global digital powerhouse, driving socio-economic transformation and ensuring a brighter future for its citizens.
Umar, writes from Abuja