NITDA To Use Digital Technology To Collapse Physical Barriers In Trade

With the help of digital technology, the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is attempting to use trade to break down geographical barriers to economic growth.

In a goodwill message delivered at the Maiden ‘Nigeria – Cote D’Ivoire Business Roundtable and Exhibition’ at the margins of the 64th ECOWAS Summit in Abuja, the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, was represented by the Acting Director of the Digital Economy Development Department (DED), Engineer Salisu Kaka.

Coordinated by the Economic, Trade and Investment Department of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Business Roundtable and Exhibition was a public-private partnership. It was organized by the Nigerian Association of Chambers, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the organized private sector.

As a cure between the two West African nations, the event’s goal was to advance greater business sector engagement. The Roundtable and Exhibition held its inaugural edition on Saturday, December 9, 2023, in Nigeria. The second edition will take place in Cote d’Ivoire in January 2024, coinciding with the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) competition.

Representing the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Ag. Director of Digital Economy Development Department, Engr Salisu Kaka, speaking at the Maiden Nigeria – Cote D’Ivoire Business Roundtable and Exhibition in Abuja, Nigeria.

According to DG NITDA, “For Africa and Nigeria in particular to leapfrog and develop, our economy has to leverage technology.”

Inuwa, while stating the opportunities in technology for economic growth said, “It is the only technology that can allow you within the comfort of your zone to advertise, sell, and promote wherever you can think of. It can be a product, it can be a service or an idea”

He encouraged MSMEs, who are the drivers of the economy not only in Nigeria but globally to, embrace technology as that is the easiest way to increase their contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This, he said, “is captured in the 5-pillar Strategic Agenda of the Honourable Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani. They are in pillar; #2, which is Policy. An effective policy provides regulatory clarity and necessary incentives for an environment where businesses and innovators are empowered to grow. Pillar #3, which is Infrastructure; as building stronger digital infrastructure is beyond connecting people but centres on economic empowerment and creating opportunities for inclusion. And pillar #4, which is Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Capital; as it provides a roadmap for Nigeria to harness the potential of these 3 pillars as catalysts for the transformation of Nigeria’s digital economy. It is the driving force behind the creation of an environment that encourages innovation, supports entrepreneurship, and allures the required capital to deliver on our ambitions.”

Speaking earlier during his welcome address, the Director, of the Economic, Trade and Investment Department of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H. E. Ambassador Akinremi Bolaji said, “The event would create a good platform for Nigeria to take an assessment of her readiness, preparation, inter-Agency, and public-private sector collaboration.”
Stated further, “We intend to expand the presence of our private sector in Cote D’ Ivoire and the West African sub-region.”

He said the event was conceived a few weeks ago as a result of a meeting held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November between Ambassador Bolaji and the Ambassador of Cote D’ Ivoire, H. E Kalilou Taore as a result of the observation of the challenges in deepening economic relations between the two countries despite the effort to deepen relations. He mentioned that both countries do well politically but continue to nose-dive in terms of trade.
Some organisations at the event were the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS); Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority(NEPZA); the National Action Committee of AFCFTA; and many more.