Nigeria’s Digital Economy To Be Sustainably Built Through NITDA And IFC

To carry out government policies targeted at digitally transforming the nation and maintaining a thriving digital economy, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the International Financial Corporation (IFC) will work together to co-create strong regulatory frameworks.

At the agency’s corporate headquarters in Abuja, NITDA Director General Kashifu Inuwa revealed the information while hosting a team from the IFC, which was headed by Senior Economist Nadege D. Yameogo, PhD.

As stated by Inuwa, the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy has been tasked by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, to increase productivity through technological innovation to diversify the country’s economy. To this end, the ministry has unveiled a strategic plan consisting of five strategic pillars.

As he listed the pillars—Knowledge, Policies, Infrastructure, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and capital, and Trade—he clarified that knowledge is the cornerstone upon which nations construct a strong and sustainable economy and that it is crucial to establish an environment that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems so they can flourish and be globally commercialized.

“When we invest and we build the infrastructure, it will enable us to trade “made in Nigeria” products and services, as well as our greatest resource, which is our talent”, he reemphasized.

NITDA DG, Kashifu Inuwa (right) presenting the agency’ SRAP to the IFC’s Senior Economist, Nadege D. Yameogo, PhD

Inuwa added that the organization is revising its Strategic Roadmap & Action Plan (SRAP) policy document to carry out the Ministry’s strategic plan, which aims to accelerate the prosperity of the nation as a whole through technology.

The goal is to co-design the document so that the ecosystem could co-create and implement the strategy, Inuwa said, expressing his excitement to have the visitors on board for the agency’s stakeholder engagement on re-crafting the agency’s SRAP.

Fostering Digital Literacy and Cultivating Talent will be the first of the document’s eight strategic pillars, he announced.

“We have the National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF) where we have a target of achieving 95% digital literacy by 2030, and we have a midterm target of 70% by 2027. So, in the designing of this strategy, we want to get the stakeholders that will execute because we want it to be a strategy for execution”, he said.

The director general of NITDA expressed hope that Nigeria could compete with any nation in the world for service delivery if its young population was properly utilized and developed.

To develop the strategy and identify potential legal frameworks for the second pillar, which is to “Strengthen Policy Implementation and Legal Frameworks,” he stated that the agency is willing to include all interested parties.

Building a Robust Technology Research Ecosystem is the third pillar, he said, stressing the importance of the nation making investments in in-depth technological research.

“Remember the mandate is to enhance productivity in critical sectors, so we see the digital economy beyond just being within the IT sector. It is pervasive so our goal is to apply it in different sectors to increase productivity”, he noted.

Inuwa further disclosed that the fourth pillar is on Promoting Inclusive Access to Digital Infrastructure & Services which according to him, will bridge the digital divide in the country and ensure everyone has access to the safe and responsible use of digital devices and platforms.

“We have a target of 40% of women inclusion as well as people living with disability and children as well. We have different initiatives for all these demographic groups”, he added.

He stated that the fifth pillar is on Strengthening Cyber Security and Enhancing Digital Trust because it was important to build the trust of Nigerians through the development of legal frameworks for digital signatures and public key infrastructures.

Revealing the sixth pillar as Nurturing an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Inuwa asserted that investing in talents will create many innovative solutions for the health care, education, and financial inclusion challenges the country is currently experiencing.

He mentioned that the seventh and eighth pillars are Forging Strategic Partnership & Collaboration, and Institutional Reform respectively, the NITDA DG stated that the agency’s willingness to build strategic partnerships with the visitors as well as building skill sets and cultivation of employee mindsets in carving a formidable agency.

“We believe we can learn from you and other organizations through strategic partnership and collaboration so that we can build strong institutions in Nigeria and Africa”, he concluded.

In her earlier remark, Ms. Yameogo expressed her excitement at collaborating with NITDA in the promotion and sustenance of the country’s digital economy.

She remarked that their priority area of interest is in the digital economy, stating that the developmental impact it can bring in terms of job creation, reducing regional disparities, creating opportunities for private investment, and bringing more private capital into the country cannot be overemphasized.

Yameogo explained that digital infrastructure is an area that needs more attention, she maintained that it is an area where private investors can intervene in terms of Agri tech, Creative tech, and Health care tech.