NITDA unveils technovation strategic plans to equip 30 million Nigerians with digital skills

As part of efforts aimed at enhancing digital literacy in Nigeria, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has unveiled eight strategic pillars to equip 30 million Nigerians within the next three and half years with digital skills, a transformative journey with the Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan, 2024 – 2027 (SRAP 2.0).

The Director General, NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi while speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADING REPORTERS over the weekend in Abuja stated that the move is in line with President Bola Tinubu’s mandate to ensure that every young Nigerian is equipped with relevant
skills to thrive in this rapidly evolving world.

Abdullahi explained that eight strategic pillars are crafted with the use of Artificial intelligence (AI) tools which will be deployed in all the 774 local government in line the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), non – governmental organizations in Nigeria and other strategic partners in Nigeria.

He noted that the first pillar: foster digital literacy and cultivate talent will be achieved by developing the National Digital Literacy Framework, which has the target of achieving 95% digital literacy by 2020.

“To do that, we have initiatives in three streams. We looked at those in the formal education. How many Nigerians are in formal education from kindergarten to tertiary institutions? Based on the available data, we have over 20 million Nigerians in the formal education. So we are working with the Minister of Education to review the curriculum and infuse digital literacy as part of our formal education so that people learn as they grow.”

The second pillar he said focuses on building a robust technology research ecosystem where innovation is born, fostering developments that propel nations towards prosperity and global competitiveness.

He noted that these advancements not only enhance productivity across industries but also establish a country’s
competitive advantage on the global stage. For instance, breakthroughs in AI, Robotics, and IoT have revolutionised sectors from manufacturing
to healthcare, driving both economic growth and societal progress.

Abdullahi emphasized that investing in technology research equips Nigeria with the tools to navigate and lead in the Fourth
Industrial Revolution adding that by focusing on strategic areas
such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics,
Blockchain, and Additive Manufacturing, Nigeria aims to position itself among the top 25 percent of nations globally in these fields.

“This ambition not only draws vital research funding but also attracts
global partnerships, enhancing Nigeria’s standing as a leader in technological innovation.”

The third pillar which speaks to Strengthen Policy Implementation and legal framework focuses on enhancing Nigeria’s digital technology landscape to support its transformation, ensuring policies are not only forward-thinking but also adaptable to emerging technological trends.

He stated that the evolving digital domain demands a regulatory approach that balances innovation with security,
privacy, and ethical considerations hence by revisiting and strengthening existing policies and legal structures, Nigeria can unlock new opportunities for digital advancement and economic growth.

The fourth pillar: To promote inclusive access to digital infrastructure and services, Abdullahi explained that this pillar aims at removing barriers and foster an inclusive digital environment where every Nigerian, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, or geographical
location, can thrive.

He added that the digital divide poses a significant challenge to achieving the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) and undermines efforts towards equitable development.

“With a strategic focus on inclusivity, Nigeria positions itself to harness the potential of its diverse population, bridging gaps and ensuring that digital advancements benefit all layers of society.”

The fifth pillar: Strengthen Cybersecurity and enhance Digital Trust stated that in the digital age, cybersecurity is not just a
technical necessity but a critical foundation for trust and confidence in digital services adding that as the digital landscape evolves, the threats to data security and system integrity grow more sophisticated.

“Recognising this, our strategic
emphasis on cybersecurity aims to build a
resilient digital environment where citizens
and businesses can operate with confidence. This move is essential to safeguard our digital assets, protect personal information, and ensure the continuity of critical services, thereby fostering a secure and trustful digital ecosystem.”

The 6th Pillar: Nurture an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Abdullahi noted that nurturing an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem is pivotal for advancing Nigeria’s socio-economic development and global competitiveness adding Innovation and entrepreneurship are the engines of growth, driving competitiveness and economic diversification.

He stated that this strategic pillar aims to transform Nigeria into a hub for IT products and services, enhancing ICT’s contribution to the GDP and fostering a dynamic ecosystem that propels economic growth adding that by creating a supportive environment that encourages creativity, Nigeria can unlock the potential of its entrepreneurs to innovate, scale up, and compete on the international stage.

The 7th pillar: Forge Strategic Partnerships and Collaboration, Abdullahi explained that strategic partnerships are fundamental to advancing Nigeria’s digital transformation agenda adding that collaborating with public and private sector entities, academia, and international organisations will enhance SRAP 2.0’s impact and visibility, aligning with global eorts to achieve development goals.

“This Pillar emphasises the importance of synergistic relationships to amplify
Nigeria’s digital initiatives and global presence.

“Nigeria’s rich cultural diversity, strategic
geopolitical position, and burgeoning tech ecosystem present a unique competitive advantage. Leveraging these strengths
through international collaborations can elevate Nigeria’s status as a key player in
the global digital landscape.”

The 8th Pillar: Cultivate a Vibrant Organizational Culture and an Agile Workforce in NITDA, Abdullahi noted thar the move is paramount to NITDA’s pursuit of organisational excellence as it underscores the importance of fostering an environment that encourages learning, psychological safety, and adaptability, ensuring that the workforce is prepared to meet the dynamic challenges of the digital age.

“A progressive organisational culture and agile workforce present an opportunity
to enhance innovation, efficiency,
and responsiveness within NITDA.

“By embracing flexibility, collaboration, and
transparency, NITDA can foster a culture that supports continuous improvement
and adaptability.

“NITDA’s commitment to a learning and
psychologically safe environment sets it apart, enabling it to attract and retain top talent while fostering a culture of innovation and experimentation.

“This approach not only enhances
employee engagement and productivity but also positions NITDA as a leader in organisational culture within the public sector.” he added.

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