The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa has reaffirmed the Agency’s readiness to partner with Business Sweden to explore the diverse avenues in promoting trade and entrepreneurship for the Nigerian teeming youths.
Business Sweden is a platform for success in an increasingly purpose-driven world, with a unique government and private sector mandate, that helps international and Swedish companies to leverage their strengths and lay the foundation for green, inclusive, and digital growth – in Sweden and across global markets.
Business Sweden had identified developmental regulations, one of the core mandates of NITDA, and a pillar in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), as a major attraction of foreign partnership towards talent development in Nigeria.
Inuwa, while welcoming the Swedish team to his office, was visibly enthusiastic about the proposal made by the Deputy Ambassador of Sweden in Nigeria, Mr. Joran Bjallerstedt, and his team during a courtesy visit to NITDA Headquarters in Abuja.
“With the Startup Act, Nigeria is positioning itself to thrive in the Information Technology ecosystem, and President Muhammadu Buhari, is set to inaugurate the Council for the Startup Act, which is the apex organ for the implementation of the Nigerian Startup Act,” Inuwa noted.
He asserted that a technical working group committee is drafting the implementation framework for the Startup Act in collaboration with the private sector. The government is working on the Nigeria outsourcing strategy, which is going to focus on making Nigeria the preferred outsourcing destination of the world.
The DG further said that the National Digital Skills and Strategy, which is aimed at making Nigeria the global talent factory towards bridging the global talent gaps is in motion to connect various talents with jobs.
“We can supply Sweden with the right talent needed to develop your businesses because in the digital economy or in the world we are today, companies are as good as its next products or services,” he said.
The NITDA boss affirmed that Nigeria has the requisite talent required to nurture and train its citizen to fit into the best digital offerings the world has to offer because of the nation’s youthful population.
He also elaborated on NITDA’s function as a government regulatory agency, stating that regulations are meant to enable and not stifle innovation.
“NITDA recently launched the regulatory intelligence framework that creates awareness on happenings within the ecosystem and gathers intelligence on how to regulate processes which enables dynamism in our regulation formulation.’’
“Our regulations focus on achieving four objectives which are, to regulate market creation, to enable innovation, to regulate customer or consumer protection, and to regulate efficiency and effective service delivery,” he added.
He noted that some issues of concern in Nigeria are waste management, transportation and logistics, financial inclusion, agriculture, and many more.
Inuwa further revealed that efforts are ongoing in building clusters for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) to wedge against the lack of job opportunities for graduates.
The Agency he said, is into many other partnerships geared towards digital skill acquisition with MIT-REAP, Google, CISCO and others.
“In the same vein, we are sponsoring students for first degree, MSC and Ph.D. on different courses, and currently in talks with the Universities in changing their curriculum to address the skill gap deficiencies among graduates,” he added.
He hinted that it has always been a collaborative effort in the ecosystem among other service providers in technology, communication companies, the agriculture sector, extension workers, and even input suppliers.
He then recommended his Special Assistant on Digital Transformation, Dr. Aminu Lawal, to be the contact person for all the initiatives identified to partner with Business Sweden on the three clusters of Business Process Outsourcing, Innovation Hubs, and Agriculture.
Dr. Aminu Lawal, while speaking on other strides of the Agency toward co-creating within the ecosystem, said that there have been several internal reforms in the Agency.
He mentioned that the Global Tech African Conference preliminary session would take place in Lagos in July 2023 while the main conference would be held on November 27, 2023.
Anthonia Adenaya, the Director General for Business Sweden West Africa, earlier said, “We work to promote relationships in Sweden and other countries in Africa and would love to develop innovation highway between Nigeria and Sweden, especially in areas that Nigeria wants to develop under the purview of NITDA”.
She commended NITDA’s efforts in enabling a formidable digital economy, particularly the recently assented Start-up Bill and added that NITDA’s objectives align with Business Sweden which is a powerhouse of innovation, sustainability, co-creation, and equality.
Anthonia agreed that there are lots of talents in Nigeria, especially when it comes to trade talent which her organisation is willing to export to Sweden, adding that the proposed training format is project-specific, i.e., tailored to fit a particular company specification and requirements.
“We train students from the perspective and the vision of the company so that they are ready to be exported into the system,” she added.
She later disclosed that Business Sweden is in a relationship with Ericson and has trained mechanics and drivers in Ghana, and equally has an MOU with France.
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