The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mal. Kashifu Inuwa, has made a case for Nigerian women as the country continued in its digital economy pursuit.
Speaking at the stakeholder press briefing organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs in commemoration of the 2023 International Women’s Day in Abuja with the theme ‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality, Mal. Inuwa noted that Nigeria can potentially and significantly boost its digital economy by ensuring the equal participation of women in the digital economy.
Quoting the 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 USD in GDP growth by the year 2025.
Represented by his Special Assistant on Strategy and Innovation, Mrs. Iklima Musa Salihu, Inuwa stated that in 2021, the UN estimated that Nigeria’s female population was 104 million; as Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria has much to gain by facilitating the inclusion of women in technology industries and bridging the digital divide.
He said that NITDA has over the years been implementing several strategic programmes and initiatives which have seen an investment of 4.4B USD in the last four years.
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 fulfillment 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 MassChallenge Nigeria and MIT-REAP Abuja, which has translated into the establishment of a 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 financial inclusion.
He said, “this year, the United Nations (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.