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NITDA Urges IT Stakeholders to Collaborate with Government to Nurture Start-ups

NITDAThe National Information Technology Development Agency’s dedication to fostering an innovative and entrepreneurial environment, as outlined in its Strategic Road-map and Action Plan 2.0, received significant reinforcement in Lagos during the NITDA Co-Create West Africa Tech Expo. This event, organized by GAGE Award in collaboration with the Agency, aims to highlight innovative businesses both locally and internationally, with a physical presence in Nigeria.

Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, the Director General of NITDA, in his keynote address at the event themed “Evolve,” emphasized the importance of collaboration between the government and the entrepreneurial ecosystem to support and empower the younger generation in turning their ideas into tangible impact.

He stressed the necessity of providing startups with access to capital to bolster their ideas and create platforms for networking and learning within the ecosystem. In acknowledging the Nigerian Start-up Act Implementation as one of many initiatives, Inuwa urged participants to form strategic partnerships and collaborate to foster ecosystem development.

Highlighting the event as a prime example of public-private partnership, Inuwa underscored the importance of co-creation in promoting innovation. He emphasized the value of collective effort within the ecosystem, stating that collaboration is essential for creating shared value.

Inuwa also took the opportunity to introduce NITDA’s new Strategic Road-map and Action Plan 2024-2027, aligning with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s priority of “Accelerating Diversification through Industrialization and Digitization.” He emphasized the need for stakeholders to work together with the government to build robust institutions, transforming government services into effective solutions for the ecosystem’s success.

He expressed, “I extend an invitation to embrace the ethos of cooperation and collaboration. When the government and you collaborate, we can achieve greater results; there are tasks beyond government’s reach, and likewise, capabilities within your realm that the government lacks. However, by working together, we can accomplish remarkable feats.”

The forthcoming unveiling of NITDA’s Strategic Road-map and Action Plan, scheduled for the first quarter of 2024, outlines eight pillars. These include fostering digital literacy and nurturing talents, establishing a robust technology research ecosystem, enhancing policy implementation and legal frameworks, and facilitating inclusive access to digital infrastructure and services.

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Additionally, the plan aims to bolster cybersecurity, promote digital trust, cultivate an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem, foster strategic partnerships and collaboration, and cultivate a dynamic work culture and agile workforce within NITDA.

Meanwhile, during the event, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, represented by Mr. Rueben Mouka, Director of Public Affairs, emphasized in his goodwill address that Nigeria must approach the global tech market with a clear understanding of its strengths, challenges, and realistic potentials. He highlighted Nigeria’s three comparative advantages: a vibrant and youthful population, a strategic location, and its position as the gateway to the African market. However, he cautioned that Nigeria must also be prepared to address challenges that could hinder its progress.

Highlighting infrastructure deficiencies such as unreliable power supply and inadequate internet connectivity as significant obstacles for investors and innovators alike, it was suggested that Nigeria should prioritize “creating an enabling environment that fosters innovation, encourages entrepreneurship, and addresses underlying infrastructure challenges.”

Emphasizing the need to capitalize on unique strengths, such as a deep understanding of local markets, to develop solutions catering not only to African consumers but also to global needs, was underscored.

In his introductory remarks, the organizer of GAGE Award, Mr. Johnson Aroh, portrayed the NITDA Co-Create West Africa as more than just a display of the latest technological concepts; it was depicted as a platform that nurtures creativity, drives digital transformation, and cultivates an ecosystem conducive to idea generation.

He described the conference as providing an exceptional opportunity to witness cutting-edge solutions and innovative projects firsthand, embodying the essence of technological excellence and ingenuity.

Encouraging the embrace of diverse perspectives and expertise to enrich the collective understanding of technology’s transformative power, it was conveyed that collaboration can pave the way for technology to drive positive change, empowering individuals and communities across Africa.

Acknowledging NITDA’s leadership for co-creating the event, Mr. Aina commended the Agency’s steadfast commitment to promoting technological innovation and digital inclusion, attributing it to the nation’s current level of achievement.

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