By Chinenye Anuforo, [email protected]
In a bid to achieve its ambitious target of 95% Digital Literacy by 2030, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, has urged participants at the “Ogun Digital Summit” to take their innovative ideas from conception to impact and commercialize their technologies in order to contribute towards the growth of the nation’s digital economy.
Inuwa said this while giving a keynote address at the summit on the theme: “Digital Technology: Key to sustainable Future”, encouraged the youths to see Tech as the present and the future of today’s world.
“When you talk about innovation and technology, human talents constitute the major components to drive the two, as such, we need universities, institutions and corporate organizations to be part of the system because they play a key role of producing the needed talents that can solve identified problems in the society”, he noted.
Inuwa enumerated efforts of the Federal Government in the areas of policy-making, creation of enabling environment, legislation, digital literacy, among others, which he stressed are all geared towards ensuring young innovators and entrepreneurs in the country thrive in their chosen fields.
“In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari redesignated the Ministry to cover Digital Economy, what that action entails is that the Federal Government is interested in the strength of your ingenuity and wants you to leverage on Information Technology (IT) for economic prosperity. The action also puts Nigeria on the digital map of global economy”, he affirmed.
Inuwa went further to remind the young minds that President Muhammadu Buhari also unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria which is a foundation policy for digital economy and digital Innovation.
NITDA, on it’s part, the Director-General pointed out, drafted the Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP), under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to help them succeed.
He analyzed the seven pillars of the document where he mentioned that the essence of the Digital Literacy and Skills Pillar is to ensure that 95% of Nigerians are digitally inclined, can understand and enjoy digital services.
Inuwa added that the bigger picture is to build the Nation’s digital services in the country and not to buy off-the-shelf services elsewhere, and challenged the youths to think globally while solving local problems.
“The government cannot give everyone seed funds or grants at the same time, which is the reason why you need to think outside the box and have something an investor would be interested in, that way, you would have had the needed funds to grow your products and services without the encumbrances of the sometimes tiring government bureaucracies”, he advised.
The NITDA boss expressed the hope that some of the participants who were mainly youths of the state will be among the 1 million developers the agency plans to train in 18 months.
“Globally, there is a shortage of talents, so, we are creating a mandate to develop a talent strategy because we have a competitive advantage as a country with our vast human and natural resources. Nigeria can seize the opportunity to fill that gap”, the DG added
The DG further noted that innovation will help in creating a sustainable future for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Digital technology provides the source of inspiration for you to be great innovators and solve any problem you can think of”, Inuwa said.
He also observed the world’s growing dependence on technologies to be able to do more avoid certain things, adding that the data created by the daily activities of humans which are being captured by digital devices can be used to innovate.
“Data is said to be the new oil, but for me, it is more than oil because data is infinite, the more you use it, the more you create it. So, this is an opportunity for you to tap into it and so we can achieve the sustainable future we seek”, Inuwa maintained.
Inuwa informed the participants that the Start-up Bill which is now a law and to be implemented by NITDA and other relevant agencies will address most, if not all the bottlenecks experienced in the ecosystem.
Acting on the agency’s mandate, the DG made a commitment of providing a Digital Center for St. Peters Anglican Primary School, 1 Isara, Remo North, Ogun State.