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Thursday 8th June, 2023


NITDA Reaffirms Readiness To Partner Business Sweden For Talent Development



L-R: Anthonia Adenaye (Business Sweden), Joran Bjallerstedt (Deputy Ambassador, Embassy of Sweden) Kashifu Inuwa, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and Nathalie Thiel (Business Sweden), during a courtesy visit to NITDA's headquarters in Abuja.

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.

He 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.

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“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.

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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.

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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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Institutionalising SMEs, Catalyst For Wealth Creation, Prosperity- NITDA DG



L-R- DG of SMEDAN, Mr. Oluwale Fasanya and DG NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa during the courtesy visit to NITDA HQ in Abuja

Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa has said that institutionalising Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) would serve as a catalyst for creating wealth and prosperity.

Inuwa’s statement followed a proposed agreement between the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to institutionalise the activities of the Small and Medium Enterprises, (SMEs) in the country.

Digital TimesNG gathered that the proposed agreement was revealed at a meeting between NITDA’s Director General, Kashifu Inuwa, and his SMEDAN counterpart, Mr. Olawale Fasanya, held at NITDA’s Corporate Headquarters, Abuja.

According to Inuwa, “We have between 60-90 per cent of our businesses under SMEs. But operating informally, how can we formalise them so that even the government can benefit by collecting taxes and have a structure in place to capture the GDP correctly?

Inuwa noted that most of the Startups the Agency deals with are SMEs who are also trying to solve a real-life problem.

“We see Startups as our babies, while for you anybody trying to start any business, you see them as your babies. We have startups solving problems in agric, commerce, education, logistics and so on,” he said.

The NITDA DG added that the world is moving to smart manufacturing whereby you can design anything on your system and print it using a 3D printer.

“We have Digital Fabrication Lab in our Centre, the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), where you can design all these and manufacture them or prototype them and do mass production,” he further stated.

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He also announced that plans are underway to have facilities everywhere as the goal is for every Nigerian to have access to these kinds of facilities.

Enumerating some of the initiatives which the Agency is undertaking and the collaboration is into with the big techs including NITDA Learning Management System Online Academy, the Director General assured SMEDAN that their SMEs will be onboarded into some of the programmes.

“We are also looking beyond SMEs today; we have what we call IDEs (Innovation Driven Enterprises) which is a process where you start with a mindset that you are solving the immediate problem. But the bigger picture is to go global, and Information Technology is making it possible for you to reach anywhere in the world,” he said.

Citing the recent research conducted by the Lagos Business School on the booming nature of the Gig economy, the Director General said that as of last year, there were over 2 million Nigerians earning a living through the Gig economy who receive training and work from anywhere using IT, like those doing Bolt and online digital marketing.

Describing the roles of the two agencies as common, Inuwa said they both exist to develop and help Nigerians create wealth using IT.

“IT is pervasive, anywhere you think of today, you need IT to enable it. Our lives revolve around technology,” he noted.

“This kind of collaboration is what can help us have structure to even protect the Gig economy as well,” he concluded.

Earlier in his remark, Mr. Fasanya said that they were in the Agency to intimate NITDA of their readiness to further enter into other collaborative areas that will be more impactful to society.

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The SMEDAN’s Director General revealed that they have identified about 70 youths in all 36 states of the Federation who were trained on different skills, particularly on how to market their products digitally.

While disclosing that his organisation wants their SMEs to take advantage of the digital space, Mr. Fasanya said that would give them the required knowledge on e-learning platforms, e-marketing and so on.


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TGI Cares Foundation Partners Jigawa iLearn Scholars

…Provides laptops and internet to Jigawa Scholars

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The TGI Cares Foundation, a philanthropy arm of TGI Group has partnered with Jigawa iLearn Scholars, an NGO, to provide tech work tools to several students as they commence their BSc, MSc, and MBA programs at prestigious Indian universities under the e-VBAB Network Project.

The e-VBAB project, which is an initiative of the Government of India, under the Third India-Africa Summit commitments, was created to offer 15,000 scholarships to African students and professionals to pursue courses offered by premier Indian institutions in emerging areas.

The initiative offers certifications, diplomas, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses.

The TGI CARES Foundation supported the 29 beneficiaries enrolled in the e-VBAB project under the Jigawa iLearn Scholar’s platform with laptops and pocket MiFi to enable them to attend classes, and access learning materials independently.

Farouk Gumel, Executive Director and Vice Chairman, Africa, of the Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group, revealed that the TGI Cares Foundation’s causes are centered around guaranteeing food security by supporting appropriate education, championing social interventions and providing relief in times of disasters.

“Supporting these scholars sits well within the focus areas of our foundation. The role of education cannot be downplayed in food security, it empowers the individual who will then go on to support their family. This creates a situation where, as more people get empowered, more people are pulled out of poverty,” he said.

Salim Ibrahim, a trainer with the Jigawa iLearn Scholars, acknowledged the tremendous impact of the equipment on their education.

“These tools will enable them to access online resources, participate in virtual classes, and complete assignments on the go. It has allowed our Jigawa iLearn Scholars to remain connected with their teachers and peers, keeping their academic progress on track,” he added.

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iLearn is a complete Education Management Platform explicitly designed for Higher Institutions by providing full automation for managing online learning and content authoring with multimedia.

TGI Cares Foundation is the charitable foundation of TGI Group companies and its Promoter – Mr. Cornelis Vink MFR.

Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group is a global conglomerate with most of its investments in emerging markets.

TGI’s investments focus on driving inclusivity and value addition using locally sourced raw materials, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, and a highly skilled workforce to produce world-class products consumed locally and exported to global markets.

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NITDA, CISCO Sign MoU To Promote Digital Transformation, Literacy

…as NITDA bags Golden Bridge Award

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DG NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, represented by Ag. Director Digital Literacy &Capacity Development Department, Dr Amina Sambo and the Vice President of CISCO Middle East & Africa, Reem Asaad singing the MoU

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, (MOU) with the Computer Information System Company (CISCO) aimed at promoting digital transformation as well as bridging the digital skills gap in the country.

This development is part of the government’s efforts to achieve a mandate of 95 per cent digital literacy by 2030 and power the economic resilience of Nigeria through effective collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

The agreement which was signed at the CISCO Networking Academy for Europe Middle East Africa (EMEA) Partner Conference in Paris, France, was sanctioned by the NITDA Director General, Kashifu Inuwa, and the Vice President of CISCO Middle East & Africa, Reem Asaad in the presence of other industry stakeholders in the world.

In strengthening the Agency’s efforts in bridging the digital skills gap in the country, the MOU signed between the two organisations is expected to support the nation’s digital transformation agenda and contribute to digital skills training and development.

The CISCO Networking Academy is an IT skill-to-jobs programme that ensures collaboration between public-private partnerships in offering digital skills training through high-quality curriculum and inclusive workforce development programmes.

The signed MOU forms part of CISCO’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, which will ensure that the CISCO Networking Academy program is promoted and expanded to benefit the country and its citizenry.

The strategic collaboration between the two organisations would ensure sustainability to other elements of the national digital agenda and create exceptional value for the country, its industries, and its citizens.

Inuwa, who was represented by the Agency’s Acting Director, Digital Literacy and Capacity Development Department, Dr. Amina Sambo, said that “by collaborating with industry leaders like CISCO, we can empower and equip Nigerians with the knowledge and resources they need to participate in the national and global digital economies”.

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In addition to the various infrastructural and innovative initiatives deployed by NITDA in the country, the MOU would ensure that CISCO deploys initiatives that will enable entrepreneurs in the country to gain new skills, innovate and build customer connections.

The CISCO Incubation and Innovation Centre known as the CISCO Earn, Design, Go to Market, Earn (EDGE) will be used to stimulate innovation and support digitization initiatives thereby providing a space where entrepreneurs in the country can showcase technologies.

It will further provide resources and tools to indigenous innovators and entrepreneurs in the country to help them develop more secure, intelligent, and connected solutions.

Expressing her excitement at working with NITDA in accelerating digitisation in Nigeria, Reem asserted that CISCO has a responsibility to its customers and the global community to help them solve challenges impacting lives.

“Cisco Networking Academy is a powerful force for change. This initiative will unlock equitable opportunities for education and career connections to diverse communities. The focus on networking and cyber security will place learners at the forefront of innovation, equipping them with in-demand skills to develop ideas that will power the future,” she added.

The highlight of the programme was the conferment of the prestigious CISCO Golden Bridge Award on NITDA in recognition of the extraordinary contributions of the Director General, Kashifu Inuwa.

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