Mr Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has called on ICT experts in Africa to prepare for post-Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic innovations that would boost economies.
Inuwa made this appeal during the Africa Tech Leaders webinar series organised by Digital Jewels, with theme: “COVID-19 Pandemic: The Africa Leaders’ Outlook”, monitored on Tuesday night in Abuja.
He said it was obvious countries across the globe, including Africa, were embracing digitisation as alternative means of boosting their ecomomies with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, post–COVID-19 pandemic will witness another wave of digitisation and technology driven processes.
“Digital transformation has positively played a big role during this pandemic in accelerating the trends of digital technologies and how it will also help us to address the changes.
“The promising silver lining in this pandemic is accelerating technology trends and shaping the future of digital economy and transformation in general.
“It is time Nigerian and African technology experts got ready for innovations and ideas after the world might have defeated the Coronavirus that is ravaging our economies,” he said.
Inuwa said that President Muhammadu Buhari, on assumption of office in 2015, set up a committee on Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which identified ICT as a key enabler.
He also said that the Ministry of Communications was redesignated to Communications and Digital Economy in 2019 to help achieve targeted objectives toward digital growth.
The NITDA boss further said the agency, in that line and since the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, had initiated some programmes to cushion the economic impact of the disease.
“We initiated Nigeria COVID-19 Innovation Challenge that brought innovators together to proffer digital strategies and how to contain the spread of the virus and prepare us for post–COVID-19 era.
“The Federal Executive Council set up a policy that is being cascaded to Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), while NITDA is issuing regulatory instruments that can help MDAs to perform its work better.
“We issued guidelines, standard and frameworks for government policy makers and other stakeholders to deliver their technological services efficiently,” he said.
He reiterated that NITDA made sure all IT projects from MDAs were being cleared according to the law, guaranteeing the value for money and local content compliance, which aligns with National e-Government Masterplan.
According to him, NITDA has conducted extensive capacity building training for MDAs and citizens in general on how to adopt and embrace digital technology.