The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has made a case that to propel the digital era of innovation and inclusive development in Africa, the continent needs regional collaboration.
The Director-General of NITDA, Mal. Kashifu Inuwa made the case at the ongoing maiden GITEX Africa, a technology exhibition that brings together industry leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs and innovators to discuss and showcase advancements in technology, which is held in Marrakech, Morrocco.
Mal. Inuwa, who was represented by Dr. Aristotle Onumo, Director of Corporate Planning and Strategy, noted that the event provides an ideal platform for organisations to promote dialogue, showcase innovative solutions, and forge partnerships to harness the potential of the digital age.
“NITDA’s participation focuses on fostering collaborations, sharing best practices, and addressing the challenges hindering Africa’s digital growth,” he said at the two Panel Sessions themed: “Accelerating Digital Transformation in Africa: Strategies, Challenges and Opportunities” and “Fast Tracking to an Integrated and Inclusive Digital Public Infrastructure.”
Dr. Onumo discussed the role of technology in driving economic growth, job creation, and digital economy development on the continent. He highlighted the need for African countries to invest in digital infrastructure, skills development, and policy reforms in order to reap the full benefits of digital transformation.
Onumo also stressed the importance of collaboration between governments, academia, industry, venture capitalist, and the tech community in order to accelerate digital transformation in Africa. He called on African countries to work together to develop common standards and regulations for the digital economy, and to promote the adoption of digital technologies across all sectors of the economy.
He further alluded to the progress made through African Free Trade Agreement and African Smart Alliance and called for a sustained effort towards a common digital identity for Africa.
He also highlighted the challenges that Africa faces in terms of digital transformation, noting that one of the biggest challenges is the lack of adequate infrastructure, digital skills as well as digital inclusion, and pointed out that there is a need for more investments in human capital development.
Despite these challenges, Onumo said that Africa as a continent has the potential to become a major player in the global digital economy. He called on all stakeholders to work together to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities that digital transformation presents.
He shared NITDA’s insights and expertise on digital transformation, especially the development of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), and NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024).
He stated that “Technology is a key driver of economic growth and job creation in Africa. We need to invest in digital infrastructure and develop our own digital strategies in order to fully reap the benefits of the digital revolution.”
“Public-private partnerships are essential for driving digital transformation in Africa. We need to work together to create a more inclusive and sustainable digital future for the continent,” he added.
He reiterated that NITDA is committed to supporting the digital transformation of Nigeria and Africa, adding that, the agency is working with governments, the private sector, and the tech community to develop and implement policies, programmes, and initiatives that will accelerate digital transformation on the continent.
“An example of such collaboration is in the development of the Nigeria Startup Act which the ecosystem regards as the game changer that will further catalyse the industry and make Nigeria a global startup destination”, he further stated
The panel sessions were made up of experts and representatives from governments, businesses, and the tech community from across Africa. The discussions were lively and productive, and there was a clear consensus among the participants that digital transformation is essential for Africa’s economic development.