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iDICE: Shettima inaugurates technical committee, as disbursement to commence soon

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Vice President Kashim Shettima has inaugurated a technical committee to kick off the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) Programme.

Speaking on Wednesday during the inauguration of the Technical Committee of the iDICE programme, the Vice President expressed optimism about the initiative’s potential to redefine the nation’s digital and creative landscape.

“We embark on a journey of innovation, collaboration, and boundless opportunity – a journey that holds the power to redefine the trajectory of our nation’s digital and creative landscape,” VP Shettima said.

The National Economic Council (NEC) had in its last meeting in March endorsed the implementation of the $617.7 million i-DICE programme in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.

The iDICE Programme, a collaborative effort between the government and international partners, including the Bank of Industry, African Development Bank (AfDB), French Development Agency and Islamic Development Bank aims to nurture and empower enterprises in the digital and creative sectors.

The Vice President revealed that the Ministry of Finance has been mandated to ensure the expeditious disbursement of funds for the iDICE Programme, paving the way for its swift implementation.

He highlighted the significance of the partnerships forged with institutions, describing them as a “convergence of vision and purpose” in pursuit of shared prosperity.

The VP commended the meticulous preparations undertaken by the Ministry of Finance and partners, affirming the programme’s readiness to unleash its full potential.

“With every condition precedent met, we stand poised to unleash the full force of iDICE upon the world,” he said.

Senator Shettima applauded the accomplishments of the programme coordination Unit over the past year, including its establishment, procurement of fund managers, and engagement with ecosystem stakeholders, describing them as a testament to Nigeria’s indomitable spirit of innovation.

The iDICE Programme, according to the VP, “represents a catalyst for transformation, a beacon of hope for future generations.”

Earlier, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters (Office of The Vice President) and chairman of the Technical Committee on the iDICE programme, Tope Kolade Fasua noted that iDICE’s substantial financial backing underscores the programme’s potential to drive transformative change in Nigeria’s digital and creative sectors.

“The selection of fund managers for the iDICE programme is being conducted through an open and transparent process, guided by the African Development Bank (AfDB). This approach aims to ensure that the best-qualified firms are entrusted with managing the programme’s financial resources,” he said.

According to Fasua, the AfDB has completed all necessary documentation and is ready to disburse funds, subject to agreed terms.

“Similarly, the French Development Agency (AFD) has signed the required documents, pending internal processes. The Islamic Development Bank (ISDB) is in the final stages, with one last document awaiting approval from the Ministry of Finance.

“With the groundwork laid, the committee anticipates the first drawdown of funds on April 15th, marking a significant milestone in the programme’s implementation,” he further noted.

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FG to launch centre for data collection to boost security

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The Federal Government (FG) has disclosed moves to strengthen national security and efficiency by unveiling a state-of-the-art data centre that can store 1.4 petabytes of data.

This facility, the Ministry of Interior, said would revolutionise the management of citizens’ bio-data and critical national information.

It noted that this feat will be achieved before May 29, 2024 – about a week.

Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo made this announcement during a meeting with the delegation of the National Union of Nigerian Associations in Italy (NUNAI) led by its President, Chief Rowland Ndukuba at his office in Abuja.

In a Tuesday post on his X account, the minister shared a Monday-dated press release signed by the ministry’s Director of Press & Public Relations, Ozoya Imohimi.

The statement read: “The Federal Government is set to launch a state-of-the-art data centre capable of storing up to 1.4 petabytes of data before 29 May 2024. This data centre will house a comprehensive range of critical national information, including citizens’ bio-data,” it read.

“Modern challenges require novel, cutting-edge technological solutions,” he stated, highlighting that the integration of advanced technology will significantly enhance the efficiency and accountability of national operations.”

The announcement comes as part of a broader initiative by the Ministry to address both domestic and international concerns.

In 2022, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Ikechukwu Nnamani, said data centres are critical to the digitisation of the economy and implementation of Internet of Things services.

There have been reports that there have been widespread complaints about poor data registration and collection in the country, covering areas such as birth, death, employment, marital status, and migration.

According to the statement, Tunji-Ojo reassured the NUNAI delegation that “their requests for intervention and the establishment of passport front offices would be reviewed, reinforcing the Ministry’s commitment to supporting Nigerians abroad.”

Furthermore, the minister “made it clear that the Federal Government would not condone illegal migration and that Nigerians attempting to emigrate through unlawful means will face the consequences of their actions.”

Tunji-Ojo also assured the NUNAI delegation that the well-being of Nigerians in Italy is a priority and that the Ministry of Interior will explore collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support stranded Nigerians abroad.

The President of NUNAI, Chief Rowland Ndukuba, expressed his gratitude for the Ministry’s proactive efforts and urged continued collaboration to assist Nigerians facing challenges in Italy.

“Earlier, Chief Rowland Ndukuba expressed gratitude for the Ministry’s efforts in addressing the challenges faced by Nigerians in Italy.

“He urged the minister and the ministry to continue collaborative efforts to assist stranded Nigerians in Italy,” the statement concluded.

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GITEX rallies stakeholders for 2nd African edition

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The organisers of GITEX are set to rally stakeholders for the 2nd edition of GITEX AFRICA on topics poised to position Africa as a leader in digital transformation.

The 2nd edition of GITEX AFRICA, from 29-31 May 2024 in the vibrant city of Marrakech, shall converge global leaders and experts, governments, businesses, big tech, start-ups, investors, and academia from 130 countries to catalyse partnerships and advance the future ambitions of a continent determined to elevate its entrepreneurial innovation economy.

Under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco, May God Assist Him, GITEX AFRICA is held under the authority of the Moroccan Ministry of Digital Transition and Administration Reform in partnership with the Digital Development Agency (ADD).

Africa’s blockbuster tech showpiece event is organised by KAOUN International, the overseas affiliate of Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), which organises GITEX GLOBAL in the UAE, the world’s largest and most trusted tech and start-up event.

With the final preparations underway for a purpose-built mega venue in the heart of Marrakech, GITEX AFRICA 2024 will span 21 halls featuring 1,400 international exhibiting companies – a 70 percent year-on-year increase over the event’s record-breaking debut 2023.

This is the year of the AI phenomenon and its tantalising all-purpose capabilities to transform diverse sectors, from cybersecurity, cloud and IoT, to finance, telecoms, agriculture, and education, amplifying hopes of greater prosperity in the world’s second most populous continent. AI’s impact on health tech has also spurred the launch of World Future Health Africa, accelerating the continent’s ascending digital health revolution.

More than 700 of the most outstanding global start-ups from 45 countries, including 200 Moroccan start-ups, will also feature at GITEX AFRICA’s North Star Africa start-up showcase, turbo-charging a great investment revival in a resilient and vibrant start-up ecosystem that is estimated to raise US$10 billion in VC funds by 2025.

These award-winning game-changers will connect with 350 investors from 35 countries with US$200 billion worth of assets under management. Now the vital barometer of tech’s massive cross-continental advances, GITEX AFRICA 2024 shall unify the global tech community’s commitment to accelerate a responsible future in the world’s burgeoning Silicon Valley.

Addressing media at the show’s official preview press conference last week Wednesday, H.E Dr Ghita Mezzour, Minister of the Moroccan Ministry of Digital Transition and Administration Reform; Sidi Mohammed Drissi Melyani, the General Director of ADD; and Trixie LohMirmand, CEO of organiser KAOUN International.

In attendance were GITEX AFRICA’s official institutional partners: the ANRT (Moroccan National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency), ONDA (National Airports Office), OCP, Royal Air Maroc, ONCF (Moroccan National Railway Office), and the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM).

Moroccan Minister of Digital Transition and Administration Reform, Ms. Ghita Mezzour, said, “The second edition of GITEX AFRICA Morocco falls within the framework of the unwavering efforts made by our country in the field of digital transition, in alignment with the Royal Directives of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, May God Assist Him, who stressed on the importance to optimally leverage the enormous development opportunities digital transition provides for African countries,” adding, “This edition will further consolidate Morocco’s position as a regional digital hub, thus creating an environment conducive to attracting more investments and stimulating job creation.”

Mr. Sidi Mohammed Drissi Melyani said, “This 2nd edition of GITEX AFRICA Morocco is even more ambitious and inclusive, as it responds first and foremost to the enthusiasm it has aroused around the world, and in more ways than one has affirmed Morocco’s positioning as a key hub in the world of technological innovation and the attractiveness of foreign investment in the promising digital sector. This year, just as many themes and sector niches will be highlighted, such as AI, reflecting the growing interest in the new global professions of technological innovation.”

Igniting talent development, catalysing a Pan-African tech rush

AI’s existential prospects and ability to leap-frog traditional barriers of economic development in Africa will dominate discussions at GITEX AFRICA 2024, catalysing a trans-continental tech rush across diverse industries, from cloud and IOT, cybersecurity, digital health, and future finance, to consumer tech, digital cities, and telecoms.

Tech leaders estimate the AI boom will add US$1.2 trillion to Africa’s economy by 2030, boosting the continent’s GDP by 5.6 percent, and accelerating the need for urgent digital discourses to deploy the shape shifting tech that is both sustainable and ethical.

CEO of KAOUN International, Trixie LohMirmand, said, “The recent developments in AI have created new opportunities and impetus for Africa in its digital transformation mission.

“Hosted in a continent adept at leapfrogging in critical industries, GITEX AFRICA Morocco presents governments, business leaders and talents with unparalleled access to new information and expert knowledge, and big opportunities in digital convergence. This shall empower them to co-create new strategies and solutions for the betterment of society.”

Government ministers, digital visionaries tackle Africa’s pressing tech challenges

Africa’s most progressive leadership conference programme will meanwhile gather 450-plus speakers from 70 countries, to debate, scrutinise, and tackle the greatest tech challenges and opportunities in the world’s second largest continent with bold ambitions to co-create and define its own Pan-African digital roadmap.

The GITEX AFRICA Digital Summit returns, leading ten conference stages comprising 280-plus hours of mind-stretching content advancing Africa’s digital movement. Impactful agendas will explore government policy and regulation, connectivity, digital cities and future finance, cybersecurity and health tech’s transformative opportunity, along with fast-tracking the world’s most exciting start-up ecosystem and challenging the realities of AI mania.

GITEX AFRICA 2024 is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm. Admission is for pre-registered trade professionals only with a special invitation for students aged 16 years and older on day three.

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NITDA to intensify digital transformation campaign to grassroots

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has revealed plans to intensify its campaign in taking the benefits of digital technology to all the local governments across the country.

This was disclosed by the NITDA Director General, Kashifu Inuwa when he played host to the Senior Special Advisers to President on Community Engagement – South East, Barr Chioma Nweze; South West, Ms Moremi Ojudu and North West, Hon. Abdallah Tanko Yakassai who visited the Agency to discuss possible areas of collaboration on Nigeria’s digital transformation journey.

This gesture is in total alignment with the present administration’s priority areas, particularly in the area of reforming the economy for sustained inclusive growth.

While stating the agency’s vision for Nigeria where inclusive economic growth is fostered through technological innovation, the NITDA DG noted that the vision aligned with the president’s eight priority areas.

“The President wants to Reform the Economy to Deliver Sustained Economic Growth; Strengthen National Security for Peace and Prosperity; Boost Agriculture to Achieve Food Security; Boost Infrastructure and Transportation as Enablers of Growth; Focus on Education, Health and Social Investment as Enablers of Development; Accelerate Diversification through Digitisation, Industrialisation, Creative Art and Innovation;  and Improve Governance for Effective Service Delivery to Citizens,” he said.

He added that the agency recently crafted its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2.0) 2024-2027, and its pillars are the tool that will help Mr President in delivering on all the presidential priority areas.

Enumerating the eight pillars of the SRAP, Inuwa highlighted “Foster Digital Literacy and Cultivate Talents” as one of the most important pillars the document is anchored on where inclusivity is pronounced.

“To ensure we are inclusive, we need to get our citizens to be digitally literate, so we developed the National Digital Literacy Framework with an ambitious target of achieving 95 percent digital literacy by 2030 but Mr President cited a mid-term target for us to achieve 70 percent by 2027,” he stated.

He further said that the agency is collaborating with the Ministry of Education in infusing digital literacy into all academic institution’s curricula while at the same time developing standard training with certifications that would be a prerequisite for securing government employment.

“We have already worked with the Head of Service to put it as a requirement for government workers to be digitally literate. But for the market people, artisans and so on, what they need is the literacy to use digital devices to access internet banking, government digital services and others. We have therefore been exploiting many channels to deliver them through TV programmes, social media, radio, roadshows and so on,” he averred.

The NITDA Boss stated that the 3 Million Tech Talent programme was another initiative of the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy in collaboration with the agency to identify skill gaps in the country and build youth’s capacity on skills in high demand locally and internationally.

“We have started the training and so far we have trained over 30,000 and completed the first phase which is a pilot. We are now executing the second phase of the training,” he said.

While giving deep insight into the other seven strategic pillars of Building a Robust Technology Research Ecosystem; Strengthening Policy Implementation and Legal Framework; Promoting Inclusive Access to Digital Infrastructure and Services; Strengthening Cybersecurity and Enhance Digital Trust; Nurturing an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem; Forging Strategic Partnerships and collaborations and lastly, Cultivating a Vibrant Organisational Culture and an Agile Workforce in NITDA, Inuwa shared the various infrastructures, innovative solutions, sponsorships and training programmes the government has been offering nationwide.

In his remark, Hon. Yakassai appreciated the DG NITDA for his wonderful presentation by sharing insights into the various activities of the agency to ensure a digitally empowered nation by building the digital capacities of Nigerians.

He, however, expressed his team’s willingness to collaborate with the agency in the areas of propagating the agency’s activities to the grassroots throughout the 774 local governments in the country.

“Mr President is a grassroots person that is why he created this office so that we make sure whatever the government is doing is taken down to the grassroots level and we need to show the people the importance of your programmes and how they can key into it,” he stated.

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