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NITDA, SMEDAN mull collaboration to develop database to determine FG interventions

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Small and Medium Entreprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) are considering collaborating to develop a database that will help the Federal Government make informed decisions in determining sectors and companies that require intervention.

The agencies noted that this is in consideration of the approximately 40 million small businesses spread across Nigeria and they are responsible for 50 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) and 70 million jobs.

Kashifu Inuwa, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) made this known while receiving the Director General of SMEDAN Charles Odii who was on a courtesy visit to the Agency’s corporate headquarters in Abuja on Friday.

The purpose of the visit was to seek partnership in terms of infrastructural and human capital development for SMEs in Nigeria. To also submit a memorandum of understanding (MoU) where both Agencies can align and invite DG NITDA to SMEDAN for further discussions.

Inuwa revealed that there were opportunities for collaboration between NITDA and SMEDAN as stated in the NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2.0) like the first pillar which is to foster Digital Literacy and cultivate talents. He said the collaboration will facilitate the penetration of digital literacy among Small and Medium Entreprise (SMEs) to enhance productivity. He added that it also aligns with the objective of the National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF).

“We all know that with digital literacy a market woman can sell her goods without moving from one place to another, as someone can use digital platforms to order for goods and have them delivered to them.”

The DG NITDA stated that the collaboration is apt as it will strengthen policy implementation and legal frameworks like the Nigerian Startup Act. He said SMEs make up about 90 percent of the country’s workforce and more than 90 percent of businesses, saying “We really want to work with you, to explore how we can get them (SMEs) to benefit from all the incentives within the Startup Act and we target those who use innovation to promote productivity or innovation-driven entreprises.”

Inuwa citing ISF said that there are more than 100 IT hubs in Nigeria and less than 50 percent of these centres are being utilised. He revealed that both Agencies can utilize these IT hubs as infrastructure for the unserved and underserved areas, which aligns with a pillar of the SRAP 2.0 which is to promote inclusive access to digital infrastructure and services.

“We can come together and decide a benchmark on what an IT hub should look like so that it can properly serve the people.”

On strengthening cybersecurity and digital trust he said “We need to look at how we can come up with cybersecurity solutions for SMEs that will promote digital trust by having SMEs that provide affordable and indigenous cybersecurity services.

Emphasis on another pillar that is SME-centric which is to nurture an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem he said “We need to come up with ways to promote innovation and entrepreneurship thereby fostering a dynamic ecosystem that propels economic growth.

Speaking earlier, the DG SMEDAN Charles Odii said that the Agency has a couple of digital literacy programmes they had started, and they were at NITDA to have their curriculum looked at to see if it meets global standards and to be sure that it aligns with the NDLF.

Odii in terms of the Startup Act said, “We understand that NITDA is the secretariat for the Startup Act, and we want to work with you in sensitising them (SMEs), especially those of them who are startups to take advantage of this and also help to add to your database for registration.”

He said “We have a robust SME database that we are building, and we would like to partner with you to make sure that the framework for this database is in line with what you have for data entrepreneurs.”

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DPI: Ministry partners ICPC to boost anti-corruption efforts

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Ministry of Communication Innovation and Digital Economy (FMoCIDE) have initiated a partnership to advance the fight against corruption through the utilisation of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI).

The Collaboration was sealed during a courtesy call by ICPC Chairman, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, SAN on the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijjani yesterday.

Recognising the pivotal role that DPI plays in combating corruption and fostering transparency and accountability in the public sector, ICPC is committed to leveraging this innovative technology to achieve its anti-corruption objectives.

The ICPC Chairman said, “Through our partnership with MoCIDE, ICPC will harness the power of DPI to enhance public registries and create an environment where corruption finds no refuge. By leveraging state-of-the-art digital solutions, we aim to establish a robust framework that leaves no room for the misappropriation of public funds or the concealment of ill-gotten gains.”

“Furthermore, in accordance with our statutory mandate outlined in Section 6, ICPC will provide expert guidance and oversight to ensure the effective implementation of DPI-based solutions to eradicate corruption and corrupt practices at every level of government. We remain steadfast in our commitment to driving systemic reforms that promote integrity, accountability, and ethical conduct across all sectors,” he added.

Dr. Aliyu further said, “The impact of this collaboration extends far beyond the realm of anti-corruption efforts. By strengthening transparency and accountability in the public sector through DPI, we anticipate significant improvements in the ease of doing business, economic growth, and job creation. Moreover, by fortifying the integrity of digital systems, we enhance Nigeria’s reputation on the global stage, attracting foreign investment and fostering sustainable development.”

“As Nigeria’s lead anti-corruption agency, ICPC is fully dedicated to the pursuit of a corruption-free society. We call upon all stakeholders – government institutions, private sector organisations, civil society groups, and citizens – to join us in this noble endeavor. Together, we can build a future where integrity, transparency, and accountability serve as the cornerstones of our nation’s progress.”

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Food Security: NITDA, USAID to partner in tackling food insecurity

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With over 70 million arable land enough to feed not just Nigeria but Africa, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that the Agency is willing to partner with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and relevant stakeholders to tackle food insecurity in Nigeria.

The Director General made this known while receiving representatives from USAID led by Josh Woodard Senior Digital Advisor Bureau for Resilience, Environment, and Food Security, at the Agency’s Corporate Headquarters in Abuja. The purpose of the visit was to have a rapid landscape assessment of digital agriculture in Nigeria and partner with NITDA.

Inuwa said, “One of President Tinubu’s areas of focus is boosting agriculture to achieve food security, and at NITDA we were set up to develop the National IT Policy, and IT policy is not just about developing IT but developing IT to boost productivity across all critical sectors including agriculture.”

“That is why we do a lot of initiatives in trying to see how we can build an agriculture Strategy with IT in mind and make it a more attractive business to the younger generation,” he added.

Inuwa stated that NITDA has identified six emerging technologies that will aid in achieving food security in Nigeria. He said, “We have an  Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy co-creation workshop going on, which started on Monday, where we are working with the ecosystem to develop a strategy on how to use AI in agriculture, health, education, and so on.

“We are working on how to use the Internet of Things, (IoT) in agriculture for crop monitoring, soil monitoring, precision irrigation, climate monitoring, livestock monitoring, and so on.”

“We are working using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to facilitate pest detection, water control, yield assessment, and so on.

“We are working on using Blockchain for the traceability of farm produce from farm to store, record keeping, quality assurance, and so on.

“We are working on using Robotics to enhance productivity in agriculture in terms of automation of physical farm processing like weeding, harvesting, tractors, and many more.

“For additive manufacturing, we are working on using it to upscale our manufacturing industry in the Agricultural sector for the production of crop and soil monitoring devices, customised equipment, and many more.”

Speaking on NITDA’s commitment to ensuring that Nigeria develops its digital offering in-country, Inuwa noted that the Nigeria Startup Portal was launched during the week with over 12,000 startups registered so far. He said they would be labelled after which they could have access to incentives.

Earlier Josh Woodard, USAID said that the meeting was to enable USAID to have first-hand information on what Nigeria is doing in digital farming to see how to enhance the integration of digital technology in agriculture.

He revealed that USAID recently launched the Global Food Security Strategy for Nigeria (2024 -2029) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

He said, “We want to work with all stakeholders to ensure food security in Nigeria.”

The meeting discussed the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) in relation to the success stories the initiative has recorded, the expansion strategy it is adopting and calls on the USAID to be part of the initiatives.

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NITDA, NIMC forge partnership to revolutionise Nigeria’s digital infrastructure

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By Blessing Emmanuel, Abuja

In a strategic move aimed at reinforcing Nigeria’s digital ecosystem and fostering digital trust, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has announced its collaboration with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) on the implementation of the National Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) initiatives.

This collaboration is expected to significantly enhance digital identity management, streamline the payment ecosystem, and facilitate secure, seamless data exchange across the country.

The partnership was formalised during a recent high-level meeting between NITDA Director General, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, and NIMC Director General, Engr. Bisoye Coker-Odusote.

During the meeting, Inuwa reiterated the importance of building robust DPI stacks to ensure the secure exchange of data, emphasizing that partnerships such as this are instrumental in transforming the national identity system. He also highlighted the pivotal role of PKI in driving Nigeria’s digital transformation agenda forward.

This partnership represents a key step forward in enhancing Nigeria’s digital infrastructure, ensuring secure data exchange, and fostering digital trust among stakeholders.

In discussing NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) 2.0, Inuwa provided insights into the agency’s evolving vision and mission, which have been crafted to align with current industry realities.

The SRAP 2.0 is built on eight key pillars, including fostering digital literacy, cultivating talent, building a robust technology research ecosystem, strengthening policy implementation and legal frameworks, promoting inclusive access to digital infrastructure and services, enhancing cybersecurity and digital trust, nurturing an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem, forging strategic partnerships and collaborations, and cultivating a vibrant organisational culture with an agile workforce.

Echoing Inuwa’s sentiments, NIMC’s Director General expressed the commission’s enthusiasm for collaborating with NITDA to advance the digital economy sector.

She emphasised the importance of cooperation among institutions to achieve common goals, stating, “No institution can implement all its policies and programs in isolation; we need each other to achieve the set targets.”

She also highlighted President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s support for data integration and harmonisation across Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the adoption of PKI to drive the country’s growth and development agenda.

The meeting concluded with the inauguration of a 12-man committee tasked with kick-starting and harmonising the initiatives outlined in the collaboration.

The committee is expected to deliver a comprehensive implementation report in the coming weeks, marking a significant milestone in the collaboration between NITDA and NIMC.

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