From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has described the 5G network as critical to driving the world towards the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Abdullahi made the observation at the Virtual Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition 2021, as a panellist, where the evolution of 5G networks and the Internet of Things (IoT) in Africa was discussed.
He said NITDA, in its Strategic Road Map and Action Plan 2021-2024, has identified the importance of promoting and exploiting emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, IoT, etc.
The Director-General who was represented by the Acting Director, Digital Economic Development department of the Agency, Engr Salisu Kaka further mentioned that the Agency has set up the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence as well as the Office of Nigerian Digital Innovation which will both create enabling environments that will allow exploration of these technologies and ensure effective use.
He revealed that the Agency developed an initiative called, ‘National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA)’, aimed at bringing emerging technologies, such as the IoT’s and the 5G technology into the agricultural sector.
He further mentioned that the regulatory approach adopted by the Agency, which is a developmental regulation, is essential in creating a plain level ground for business regulations where these emerging technologies will be effectively utilised, thereby realising the economic diversification of the country and the African continent. He added that the government’s responsibility is to ensure that policy provisions are put in place to ensure the inclusion of private business owners.
‘Private business owners don’t exploit where there is no potential, so, it is important for the government to put in place interventions that will be attractive.
‘There are deliberate attempts to set up mechanisms that will coordinate these emerging technologies, which will lead to the engagement of the society, especially the youth, innovators and the entrepreneurs,’ the DG said.
He disclosed that another initiative, the National Adopted Schools for Smart Education (NASSE), was launched by the agency with the objective of incorporating these emerging technologies into the educational sector as well and expanding the potentials of the sector.
‘In NITDA, we have refocused our process of making these policies user friendly, because it encourages participation of the private sector and the society, towards the development of these regulatory provisions for the 5G technology and other emerging technologies, which is why we refer to it as developmental regulations,’ Abdullahi concluded.