NITDA leading Africa’s digital economy drive – Zambian govt
A Director in the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority, ZICTA, Mr Austin Sichinga, has identified the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, as the government agency leading Africa’s technological growth and digital economy actualization.
When he led a working delegation from ZICTA to Abuja, the Information Communication Technology expert noted that NITDA has taken several steps to make the Nigerian ICT industry a model for other nations.
“NITDA has leapfrogged most African institutions into technology development in the continent. We have seen and acknowledged its development efforts in supporting ICT start-ups and imparting relevant ICT skills on young minds.
“The agency has tremendously done well in terms of investing heavily in technology disruption in the Nigerian agricultural sector,” he said.
Sichinga explained that the delegation’s visit was to learn how ZICTA will also develop indigenous ICT technology for Zambia’s national progress, as NITDA has been doing for Nigeria.
“There is a lot to be learnt from Nigeria, who has been on this path. Our mission is about learning from Nigeria on utilizing public infrastructure to promote and secure transactions in service delivery on the digital platform,” he added.
Responding, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the Director General of NITDA, underscored the need for African governments to forge a united front in achieving a strong digital economy for the continent.
The DG revealed that the Zambian delegation is the fourth to visit NITDA’s corporate office this year, after the visits by officials from Ghana, Kenya, and The Gambia to study Nigeria’s technological development drive.
“This means people, even from outside Nigeria, appreciate the modest efforts we have been putting to transform the digital economy space. Every country needs to attain digital sovereignty. Countries who are digitally independent will have the capacity to develop local technologies for their citizens’ consumption.”
NITDA has rejuvenated the working environment that conforms to 21st-Century ICT compliance, supporting tertiary institutions and the establishment of over 7,000 digital Economy Centres spread across various communities and secondary schools across the federation.
One of NITDA’s state-of-the-art facilities that attract international visitors is the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) which promotes research and development of emerging technologies and their practical applications. It focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and Drones, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc.
With a modern digital fabrication laboratory (FabLab), the centre hosts boot camps for young children to make them conversant with emerging technologies. It also trains kids on AI, coding, digital communication, robotics and drones, embedded systems and IOT, virtual reality and 3D printing.
Foreign organisations are also fascinated by the Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI), another special purpose vehicle (SPV) for incubating ideas and developing an enabling environment for startups. Through the ONDI, NITDA has supported over 250 startups leading to job creation and economic growth.
Apart from facilitating grants and seed funding, NITDA also supports startups by organising selection processes for their sponsorship of big tech events which included the GITEX global event, LEAP Tech Conference, and Intra-African Trade Fair among others where they won global awards and prizes.
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