From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has partnered with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to help aid export driven digital economy by leveraging technology.
The Director General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi received the Executive Director/CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr Olusegun Awolowo at the Agency’s National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Abuja.
He reaffirmed the agency’s commitment in creation of a viable innovative ecosystem to move the country forward through sustainable technology innovation and export driven digital economy.
While appreciating the visit, the DG NITDA, also used the occasion to point out that entrepreneurship is looked at from two different perspectives; Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Innovative Driven Enterprises (IDEs).
He explained that the initiatives of the Agency are targeted more towards the IDEs, owing to long term benefits it has in the global market. ‘’Innovative Driven Enterprises are game changers for job and wealth creation,’’ he said.
To achieve job and wealth creation using digital technology, the DG stressed that there is a need to have key stakeholders on board from universities and corporate organisations, venture capitals, entrepreneurs that are willing to transform ideas into productivity, and a government that creates an enabling environment through interventions, policies and establishment of infrastructures.
He reinstated that NITDA works with different organisations, universities, entrepreneurs and other government bodies to achieve job and wealth creation, and to establish a sustainable digital economy under initiatives such as; “The Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support Scheme”, he noted.
Mallam Kashifu further encouraged the youths to acquire digital skills and innovative culture. He stated that academic qualifications are not enough to provide jobs and create wealth in today’s competitive world.
“NITDA identifies and selects Start-ups to get mentorship and training in IT Hubs across the nation, connects them with investors and corporate organisations in order to provide them with jobs’’, he added. He concluded that NITDA can work with NEPC to create an ecosystem that will promote the export of digital items, services and infrastructures.
The Executive Director of NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, outlined the creation of Digital Economy Ministry as one of the best achievements of President Buhari’s government. He further charges the Nigerian government to move beyond dependency on raw materials but invest in Information Technology and Artificial intelligence.
He stated that the creation of financial means of payment in Nigeria similar to PayPal, Flutter wave, and pay-stack demonstrates that Financial Technology is the present and the future mainstay of our digital economy.
Mr Awolowo proposed areas of partnership with NITDA to include; Export of Services such as ICT infrastructure, inclusion and promotion of youths by training and job creation, movement towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Diaspora export programme, and Digital Agriculture.