NITDA Tasks IT Stakeholders To Collaborate With Government To Nurture Start-Ups

NITDA Co-Create West Africa Tech Expo, an event organised by GAUGE Award in collaboration with the Agency to showcase innovative businesses locally and globally with a physical presence in Nigeria, provided a significant impetus to the National Information Technology Development Agency’s commitment to fostering an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem as enshrined in its Strategic Road-map and Action Plan 2.0.

In his keynote speech, NITDA Director General Kashifu Inuwa emphasised that to support the younger generation and assist them in taking their ideas from conception to impact, the ecosystem and the government must collaborate. The topic of the event is “Evolve.”

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

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

He said, “This event is one of them. This is a private-public partnership. We co-created the conference, and the conference itself 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.”

The NITDA Director General, Kashifu Inuwa engaging innovators during the exhibition tour at the NITDA Co-Create Conference and Exhibition at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos

Inuwa, 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 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 the government can work together, we can do better things; because there are things you can do, the government cannot do and there are things the 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 to 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, of Nigeria Communications Commission, who was represented at the event by the Director of 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 investors 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, of the 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 offer the 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’s 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 NITDA 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 has been instrumental to the level the nation has attained today.

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