How we are strengthening digital ecosystem in Nigeria – NITDA Boss

The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi (CCIE), said that the Agency is implementing key policies to harness the Nigeria Digital Ecosystem.

He made this known at a webinar session organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), in collaboration with the National Association of Software and Service Companies in India (NASSCOM).

The DG noted that the collaboration is an amazing opportunity in creating a viable ICT market and digital economy in both Nigeria and India. He spoke on the theme; “Nigeria-India Partnership towards a Structured ICT Market and Digital Economy”.

“We hugely invest in four areas to strengthening our tech innovation ecosystem; these are Human Capital Development, Infrastructure, Demand Creation and Funding for Startups”.

The NITDA DG further corroborated his claims by stating that Lagos alone has more than 400 startups valued at over $2 billion.

“At NITDA we focus on creating market for digital economy through implementing groundbreaking initiatives to create innovation ecosystem and entrepreneurial capacity in our country” said the DG.

This, according to the NITDA boss, is in line with the presidential mandate given to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

“My Honorable Minister, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) has been working effortlessly to lower internet cost and deepen our broadband penetration as well as to make sure all Nigerians have digital ID that is; the National Identification Number (NIN)’’

He further stated that Nigeria is leading in terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the technology sector. He attributed this to the nation’s population and volume of usage.

“We have the largest young population, Internet users and mobile subscriptions, and we are second-highest tech-startup density on the continent.” added the DG.

He explained further that with Nigeria’s population both countries have promising potentials to create and capture value in the digital economy.

According to NITDA DG, Nigeria is towering the same line with the Indian tech sector on this positive trajectory. He identified three distinctive attributes that fostered the growth of ICT in India; firstly, lowering the cost of mobile data, secondly, implementing a national identification program to provide a digital identity for all, and thirdly, embracing digital payments. He added that the Nigerian government is vigorously implementing similar policies to structure its ICT Market and Digital Economy.

Mallam Abdullahi believes that Abuja is becoming an emerging tech hub and having a viable innovation ecosystem in Abuja is critical to digital economy market creation in the city and Nigeria at large. He is optimistic that this partnership will focus on the opportunity to learn from India to build the Nigerian market and create prosperity for its citizens.

The DG of NITDA charged the collaborating team to ensure the partnership is geared towards enhancing Nigeria’s digital economy. He was also confident that Nigeria has a competitive edge to compete with any country globally.

While commending the efforts of the ACCI and NASSCOM for the opportunity they are opening up to Nigerians, the DG said he believes that the partnership will help strengthen our digital ecosystem and create prosperity for our country.

The Director General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr Dan Azumi Mohammed Ibrahim, in his goodwill message, expressed optimism that the collaboration would enable sustainable development, and reduces the level of illiteracy to its barest minimum in the country.

Engr. Olanrewaju Onigbogi, Head ICT Department M- P Infrastructure reiterated the NITDA DG’s submission that ICT has evolved in Nigeria. He also agreed that the use of ICT has helped organizations achieve growth, making them efficient, effective, innovative, and globally competitive.

The event also featured other participants who contributed to related topics. They, however, highlighted some limitations inhibiting the growth of ICT in Nigeria as, inadequate infrastructure (Electricity), inconsistent and unpredictable regulatory regime on ICT related business, inefficient use of data, data analysis, and business intelligence tools.