COVID-19 drives Innovation, Digital transformation – DG NITDA

The Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE revealed that COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation journey faster, more dramatic and disruptive, giving opportunities for more convenient online presence with less disturbance, Digital innovation and Internet Economy for drive to Digital Economy”.

Abdullahi said this while making his presentation at the 8th Annual Instalment of the International Data Corporation (IDC) West Africa CIO Summit 2021 with the Theme: “Innovation Strategies Evolving on the demand of New Realities is Exciting”.

He stated that Economy Africa reports 2020 revealed that by 2025, the value of Internet Economy in Africa will reach $180b, accounting for about 5.2% of the Continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and by 2050 its projection is estimated to be $712b, about 8.5% of the Continent’s GDP.

“Innovation drives growth in the internet economy, process of taking ideas from inception to impact inspired three digital capabilities; firstly, Ubiquitous Data which is used to make decision and have Information at your disposal anytime. Secondly, Unlimited Connectivity particularly Internet of Things (IoT) which ease connectivity and learning things easily. Lastly, Massive Computing Processing Power which has no limit to what can be processed. These Capabilities are the source of inspiration that ignites innovation and create demand in the digital era.”

“The Global advancement and digital technologies are making the world a better place. We are inspired to deliver rapid business innovations and new customer value prepositions. African Start-ups coming up with unique business models, Digital Transformation platforms and services that creates incredible value with a significant impact on human lives and the economy which indicates that Africa will not miss the Fourth Industrial Revolution unlike the first, Second and Third industrial era where we lost out in creating and capturing values across the globe”, he noted.

He added that in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, has laid foundation for a Digital Nigeria by expanding the Mandate of Ministry Communications to cover Digital Economy, which the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has a larger focus vision of digitalizing the country.

“In 2019, the Ministry formulated a National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a digital Nigeria, serves as laid down foundation to create and capture value from innovation in the digital Economy.”
“The Implementation of the strategies within 2years, has significantly impacted the economy with the digital sector being the fastest growing sector which bailout the country out of COVID-19 induces session. Nigerian National Digital Economy Policy and Strategies primary implementer crafted the Strategic Roadmap and Action plan SERAP 2021-2024 with the objectives: Articulating new strategies for the Nigerian Ecosystem in accordance with the current aspirations of the Government the new realities of today and the future demands, this was built on seven (7) strategic pillars namely: Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy and Digital skills, Digital Transformation, Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Cybersecurity, and Emerging Technologies, he identified,” he explained.

He averred that part of the NDEPS is to develop and innovate solutions using emerging technologies like: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Blockchain and IoT among others to provide quality life, education, poverty eradication, health and wellbeing. According to him, CB Insights 2021 reported that there are total of six unicorn companies in Africa which 3 are from Nigeria namely: Flutterwave, Interswitch and Jumia respectively.
Abdullahi encouraged Chief Information Officers from organizations and Corporate Nations to focus more on initiating digital innovation strategies considering global digital trends and new realities.

“Every organization or country is unique and has its peculiarities but the digital strategies will provide a map for your journey. Our dream in Africa is to be digitally self reliant and become a digital hub for digital services exportation, a critical driver for digital transformation and a frontier for vibrant and highly competitive digital Economy. Our youthful population, location and time zone are our competitive age, and we the CIO’s are the drivers of our dreams in our respective organizations and countries, being proactive and responding to opportunities offered by technological innovations,” he concluded.
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