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Experts at NITDA’s eNigeria summit seek seamless switch to knowledge economy

Rising from a three-day international summit on eNigeria, powered by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), conferees have called for strategic shift of emphasis from resource to knowledge based economy in Nigeria.
According to them, the shift will among other things, place Nigeria on the right footing to align with the trending global digitization race which observers say will shape the future of emerging economies.
Business Hilights recalls that the 2018 edition of the e-Nigeria Conference, Exhibition and Awards from 5th – 7th November 2018 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, came with the theme; ‘Promoting a Digital Economy in an Era of Disruptive Technologies through Effective Regulations’.
eNigeria is Nigeria’s flagship International Conference, Exhibition and Awards that brings stakeholders together in the IT industry to deliberate on emerging technologies, local innovations and relevant Information and Communication Technology (ICT) issues for the socio-economic development of the nation.
Key observations made in the Communiqué issued at the end of the summit include that the theme of the Conference encompasses the 7 pillars of NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap: Digital Job Creation, Capacity Building and Local Content Development & Promotion map to the aspect of the theme that talks about a Digital Economy. Digital Inclusion and Government Digital Services relate to the issue of Disruptive Technologies. IT Regulations and Cybersecurity cover the aspect of Regulations.

NITDA pantami
Director General of NITDA, Dr. Isa pantami

Whereas participants commended NITDA’s continuous efforts on the hosting of eNigeria, especially on the choice of the theme of this year’s event, they also stressed that just as nations are moving away from a resource based to knowledge based digital economy and Nigeria should not be left behind.
Some notable achievements of NITDA within the last 2 years include: The establishment of 80 digital jobs creation centres; The establishment of 86 digital capacity building centres; The establishment of 86 e-learning centres; The creation of 8 world class Wide Area Networks in tertiary institutions; The provision of postgraduate scholarships to 92 Nigerians to study ICT elated courses; The organization of capacity building for CEOs/Head of MDAs and Heads of ICT departments/units; The organization of capacity building for women and people with disabilities; and saving N13bn for the government through the clearance of IT projects of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Other key observations are that the Federal Government recognises NITDA’s collaboration with the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), in coordinating Federal Government’s initiative by establishing eight (8) Innovation Hubs, one in each of the six Geo-Political Zones to facilitate digital capacity building for employment creation, entrepreneurial skills development, job and wealth creation.
Another observation is that disruptive technologies like Blockchain, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, 3D printing, Big Data Analytics can be used to fight corruption in the public sector.
Also that Nigeria currently has about 45,000 base transmitter stations and 120,000 kilometres of fibre broadband infrastructure. It is however ranked 135 out of 145 countries of the world in terms of infrastructure, hence, the need for greater investment in the area of infrastructural development.
NITDA-logoThe communiqué also listed key recommendations from the summit, saying NITDA should work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that it clears all ICT projects by MDAs before implementation and defaulters should be reported to the Presidency for appropriate sanctions.
eNigeria participants also averred that all MDAs should give preference to locally manufactured goods and services in their procurement of information technology services in line with the Executive Orders 003 and 005.
Conferees further noted that NITDA should work with relevant regulatory agencies to ensure strict compliance to the new regulatory instruments on the registration and certification process for OEMs developed by the Agency.
They also recommended that NITDA should use its regulatory instruments to ensure the full implementation of the Nigerian ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision that focuses on the development of Digital Infrastructure, Education Reform, Skills Development and Research and Development as well as supporting the ecosystem.
Besides, eNigeria called for strong efforts at creating adequate awareness on the importance of these regulatory instruments.
Other recommendation include that serious attempts should be made to establish a Micro-Small Medium Enterprise (MSME) based cybersecurity solutions sub-sector, principally driven by knowledgeable workers below 35 years.
The summit also recommended that NITDA, in collaboration with stakeholders, should in addition to its current capacity building program, build the capacities of CEOs and Heads of MDAs in States and Local Governments.
To accelerate digital promotion, NITDA should encourage states to implement the various digital inclusion policies and create massive awareness on the benefit of digital transformation.
Government should work towards automating the Nigerian procurement processes to effectively curb corruption.

NITDA E Nigeria
R-l: President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Communications, Barr Adebayo Shittu and DG of Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isah Ibrahim Pantami at the e-Nigeria Conference in Abuja recently. Photo: Business Hilights

Government should be encouraged to provide greater funding for the deployment of disruptive technologies.
Stakeholders commended NITDA on their good work of establishing incubation centres and hubs and advised the Agency to extend this initiative to tertiary institutions.
NITDA should collaborate with INEC to mandate all existing political parties in Nigeria to automate their membership registration process and database as it is crucial in ensuring effective elections.
NITDA should ignite Nigeria’s Application Program Interface (API) economy by building a National Mobile Big Data Analytics Platform to enable business ecosystems create solutions for government organizations.
Stakeholders further recommended that government should ensure the responsible use of social media in view of its importance towards national security, amongst others.