Nigeria’s digital economy sees $4.4 billion investment in four years
•NITDA calls for more women participation in tech sector
Nigeria’s digital economy space has recorded over $4.4 billion investments as a result of strategic collaborations and programmes. The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, disclosed this in Abuja, at a stakeholders briefing organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs in commemoration of the 2023 International Women’s Day with the theme: ‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.”
Inuwa said Nigeria could potentially and significantly boost its digital economy by ensuring equal participation of women in the digital economy. Making reference to statistics made available by the Council on Foreign Affairs, he revealed that women’s participation in all sub-sectors of the digital economy is equivalent to men’s participation, and the country stands to gain a whopping $230 billion in GDP growth by the year 2025.
Represented by his Special Assistant on Strategy and Innovation, Mrs. Iklima Musa Salihu, Inuwa stated in 2021, the United Nation (UN) estimated that Nigeria’s female population was 104 million, as Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria has much to gain by facilitating inclusion of women in technology industries and bridging digital divide.
According to him, “NITDA has over the years been implementing several strategic programmes and initiatives, which have seen an investment of $4.4 billion in the last four years.”
Inuwa noted that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), which NITDA is primarily implementing, has the objective of bridging the digital gender gap by ensuring that the digital skills training programmes incorporate children, women, internally displaced persons, and the physically challenged.
“In fulfilment of this strategy, we have taken many steps to drive our nation’s prosperity by boosting digital innovation for women, creating an enabling environment that maximizes the potential of all Nigerian women, promoting their ability to contribute to the economy, and ensuring their improved quality of life and well-being,” he mentioned
He highlighted some of the key initiatives designed to support technology innovation including the Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Scheme (TIES); Idea Hatch (iHatch); Bridge to Mass Challenge Nigeria and MIT-REAP Abuja, which has translated into establishment of vibrant innovation ecosystem and creation of 33,500 direct and indirect jobs in 2020.
He said, “In a bid to support digital literacy in women, we have conducted capacity-building programmes on ICT and entrepreneurship for 360 women in the various geopolitical zones.”
Inuwa stated that implementation of the Digital Literacy initiative increases women’s awareness, knowledge, and use of business tools that can help promote their entrepreneurial and career pursuits, increase distance learning and distance work programmes and opportunities, as well as financial inclusion.
He said, “this year, the United Nation (UN) wishes to recognise the women and girls in our lives who are championing the advancement of digital transformation and education.”
“We recognise that different challenges arise in the form of social, economic, and cultural barriers, which are hindrances that forestall this inclusion.
“That is why we have worked to create barrier-circumventing opportunities that will transform lives and create a positive domino effect that cascades greater values into our societies,” Inuwa added.
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