Nigeria seeks share from $11.5 trillion global digital economy
• NITDA engages stakeholders for policy development
As part of efforts by the Federal Government of Nigeria to grow the nation’s economy through digital technologies, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said its Nigeria Digital Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Startup Policy (NDIESP) is designed to ensure the country earns a share from the $11.5 trillion global digital economies.
Indeed, the agency, under supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has made a second presentation of the NDIESP to the public, particularly IT stakeholders for further review and additional input, in line with National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a digital Nigeria.
NITDA explained that the policy being championed by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy comprises six priority thrusts namely: advancing human capital, unlocking access to capital, enabling infrastructure, boosting demand, supporting R&D, and promoting innovative entrepreneurship, adding that the policy is formulated to achieve a digital innovation and entrepreneurship-driven nation.
Having exited from recession, the NDIESP proposes that digital innovation and entrepreneurship would help fast track the recovery of other traditional economic sectors by supporting the provision and adoption of indigenous and tailor-made solutions for nationwide implementation of the policy through automation, smart processes and ICT solutions.
The NITDA Director-General, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, while making his presentation earlier at the public sector stakeholders’ engagement organised by the agency, disclosed that the idea behind the formulation of the policy is to bring to the table, different and innovative approaches in realizing President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for the country.
The DG, who was represented by Director ITIS, Dr. Usman Gambo Abdullahi, pointed out that for digital transformation to become a reality, Nigeria must pay attention to harnessing the quality and relevance of its population, while it continues to maintain the 60:40 ratio of STEM students in universities to other disciplines, adding that more attention should be paid to the curricular that is being used to teach and how relevant such is to the digital economy.
“We are all aware that there is no innovation where new knowledge does not exist. The most innovative countries in the world that control the market share of the $11.5 trillion global digital economies are the countries with immense public and private sectors that are funding research and development. We must commit to accelerating our research and development; beginning with our intellectual property environment and solving the underlying problems of funding for innovative research.
“Also relevant to the realization of our digital Nigeria vision is the funding required for startups, spinoffs and already established companies in their quest for digital solutions development for the market. For it is in the application of knowledge and its conversion into useful products for the people that innovation ushers in prosperity.
“While many tax incentives exist already, we must bring together these initiatives in ways that ensure ease of access to those who need it. Beyond tax incentives, we must also create innovative ways of facilitating patient venture capital that will provide the runway that these innovative companies require.
“Even as we put all these in place, we must also commit to promoting digital entrepreneurship amongst our youth by all means necessary and put in place the framework that boosts demand for digital products in the economy through government patronage by procurement of these digital innovation products,” he said.