Collaborate with Government to nurture start-ups, NITDA urges stakeholders

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The National Information Technology Development Agency’s commitment to nurture an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem as enshrined in its Strategic Road-map and Action Plan 2.0 received a major boost in Lagos at NITDA Co-Create West Africa Tech Expo.

By Chimezie Godfrey

The National Information Technology Development Agency’s commitment to nurture an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem as enshrined in its Strategic Road-map and Action Plan 2.0 received a major boost in Lagos at NITDA Co-Create West Africa Tech Expo.

The event was put together by GAGE Award in partnership with NITDA to showcase innovative businesses locally and across the globe with physical presence in Nigeria.

National growth LS

While delivering his keynote address at the event with the theme as “Evolve”, the Director General, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, stressed the need for the government and stakeholders to work together to nurture the younger ones and help them transform their ideas from conceptualisation to impact.

He said,“We need to help our start-ups to have access to capital that will enhance their ideas and provide platform for them to network and learn from the ecosystem.

Inuwa who acknowledged that the Nigerian Start-up Act Implementation is one of the several initiatives under the pillar, urged the participants to forge a strategic partnership and collaborate to develop the ecosystem. 

“This event is one of them. This is a private-public partnership. We co-created the conference, and the conference itself is to promote co-creation. 

“We do a lot of these activities. We believe no one should live in isolation, so we need to work as an ecosystem to create value together,” he said.

The NITDA Boss while using the occasion to share the new NITDA’s Strategic Road-map and Action Plan 2024-2027 which is in sync with one of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s defined priority areas of “Accelerating Diversification through Industrialisation and Digitisation” to the participants who were majorly IT stakeholders and tech enthusiasts maintained that for the ecosystem to succeed, stakeholders must join hands with government to build a strong institution which could only be achieved by transforming government’s services into solutions.    

He said, “I want to invite you to embrace the spirit of cooperation and collaboration. If you and government can work together, we can do better things; because there are things you can do, government cannot do and there are things government can do, you cannot do, but together, we can do greater things.”

The new NITDA’s Strategic Road-map and Action Plan which is billed to be unveiled in the first quarter of 2024 provides for eight pillars which are; Foster Digital Literacy and Cultivate Talents, Robust Technology Research Ecosystem, Strengthen Policy Implementation and Legal Framework, and Promote Inclusive Access to Digital Infrastructure and Services.

Others include Strengthen Cybersecurity and Enhance Digital Trust, Nurture an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Forge Strategic Partnerships and Collaboration and Cultivate a Vibrant Work Culture and an Agile Workforce in NITDA.

Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission, who was represented at the event by the Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Rueben Mouka in his goodwill address advised that Nigeria should approach the tech global market with a clear understanding of its strength, challenges and realistic potentials adding that although Nigeria possesses  three comparative advantage of vibrant and youthful population, strategic location and the gateway to African market, the nation must be ready to also confront the challenges that threaten to impede its progress. 

While identifying infrastructure deficits, unreliable power supply and poor internet connectivity as some of the barriers that affect investor and innovators alike admonished that Nigeria should focus on “fostering an enabling environment that nurtures innovation, promotes entrepreneurship and addresses the underlying infrastructure and infrastructure challenges.” 

He said, “the nation must leverage unique strengths  such as a deep understanding of local markets to develop solutions that address the needs and preferences of not just African consumers but the world at large.” 

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the convener, GAGE Award, Mr. Johnson Aroh described that the NITDA Co-Create West Africa is more than just a showcase of the latest technological concepts that exist in the ecosystem but a platform that fosters creativity, drives digital transformation and builds the ecosystem where ideas flourish.

He stated that the conference would offers a rare privilege of experiencing first-hand cutting edge solutions and groundbreaking projects that embody the spirit of technological excellence and ingenuity.  

He said, “ Let us embrace the diversity of perspectives and expertise that enrich our collective understanding of technology transformative power.  Together, we can chart the course toward the future of technology as a force for driving positive change and empowering individuals and communities across Africa.

While commending the leadership of NITDA  for its vision in co-creating the event, Mr. Aina said the Agency’s unwavering commitment to promoting technological innovation and digital inclusion have been instrumental to the level the nation has attained today.      

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