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NITDA, TETFUND sign MoU to advance IT in tertiary institutions

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deploy emerging technologies and ensure digital inclusion in tertiary institutions across the country.

The MoU, which process started four years ago between the two institutions, was signed on Friday in Abuja.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the MoU focuses on Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure Deployment; Human Capacity Development; Deployment of Emerging Technologies and Digitisation of Services in tertiary schools.

Other areas are Project Management; IT Academy Deployment; ICT Policy Development and Emerging Technologies and Deepening of Research and Development with ICT in tertiary institutions.

The Director-General of NITDA, Dr Isa Pantami, said that the document was strategic as no institution of government could develop in isolation.

“Although most tertiary institutions are already using ICT in their activities, there is a need to upgrade to include emerging technologies to be at par with the global trend.

“So many schools in Nigeria do not have old records of their activities and when past students misplace results or certificates, they only engage in swearing court affidavits.

“However, with Block Chain technology, Artificial Intelligence and other forms of modern day technology, schools can digitise their activities which will save cost, energy and ensure efficiency.

“Our universities are becoming highly populated, but with IT, we can make easier the learning process which will de-congest the classrooms.”

He said that if the two institutions remained committed to the provisions of the MoU, the intervention would go a long way to ensure the consolidation of IT in tertiary schools.

Pantami also encouraged TETFUND to set up a committee in collaboration with NITDA to facilitate the implementation process of the MoU.

Prof, Suleiman Bogoro, the Executive Secretary of TETFUND, on his part, said that quite a number of emerging technology solutions were very creative, innovative and enhanced learning.

According to Bogoro, such emerging technologies are needed for a knowledge-based economy and reduce issues of plagiarism in tertiary school programmes.

He added that the MoU would be for the benefit of the students and lecturers because ICT was required for every process of learning.

The secretary commended NITDA for providing ICT facilities in many tertiary schools across the country.

 

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COVID-19: NDA to collaborate NITDA on e-learning, capacity building

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The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) on Friday sought to collaborate with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on e-learning and ICT capacity building.

The NDA Commandant, Maj. Gen. Jamilu Sarharm, made the request when he paid a courtesy visit on Mr Kashifu Inuwa, the Director General of NITDA in Abuja with his team.

Sarharm said the NDA had over 2,000 cadets and things were changing and affecting modes of learning especially during the lockdown.

“The whole world is now driven by ICT, we want to engage in online training for our cadets.

“We can’t wait any longer than to come around here basically to seek collaboration and more importantly seek for assistance and expertise,” he said.

Respinding, Inuwa commended President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s initiatives toward repositioning ICT to play a critical role in the diversification of the nation’s economy.

According to him, the idea will reduce the negative impacts of the novel Coronavirus on the digital economy.

The NITDA boss stated that the redesignation of the Ministry of Communications to Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, unveiling of its attendant projects which focused on digital capacity building and digital literacy, would reshape the economy in postpandemic era.

“These initiatives have helped because they are emerging globally and in Nigeria.

“What we have learnt from the pandemic or the crisis just made them profound and we are all embracing digital technologies.

“A lot of things are going to change, we are not going to go back to normal life. Some businesses will close down and new opportunities will emerge.

“We don’t want to be left behind, we want to be part of the people shaping the new normal that we are currently facing,” Inuwa said.

He advised Nigerians to explore the opportunities the crisis had provided to accelerate the trend that would shape the digital economy.

He reiterated the need for people to acquire requisite skills needed for digital economy.

According to Inuwa, digital economy means knowledge-based economy which human capital is a key enabler and influences the digital economy.

He added that the agency prioritised capacity building and had diverse collaborations with universities to produce the right skills needed for the digital world.

The director-general therefore assured the NDA team that the agency would galvanise support to the academy in its quest for e-learning, capacity building and ICT infrastructure development.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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COVID-19: NITDA academy admits 14,000 learners

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has admitted over 14,000 active students into its virtual academy to study 47 courses on emerging technologies.

The Director-General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, disclosed this on Thursday in an online meeting organised by the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).

The meeting focused on the Socio-Economic and Political Impact of COVID-19 on Telecom and ICT sector in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the NITDA Virtual Academy was launched in May by Dr Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

The platform was targeted at helping to engage young citizens to spend their time meaningfully and learn new technologies that will help create and shape the post-COVID era.

Inuwa said inspite the effect of COVID-19 in all sectors, there was hope because the crisis had forced people to change behaviour and adapt to new habits.

“Coronavirus has forced us to change our behaviour and adapt to new habits.

“New trends have emerged, we do everything remotely, working, learning, meeting, workshops, zoom party, e-wedding and so on,” he said.

He also said that NITDA had successfully organised various programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Innovation Challenge.

According to him, the innovation challenge is designed to help with ideas that can contain and cushion the effect of the virus as well as keep the economy up.

“We are working with the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and Nigerian Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) to identify some of the ideas they think are relevant for them.

“The ideas can be used as a testing ground to help the initiatives by the start-ups develop their ideas into products,” he said.

He added that the challenge had over 2,000 applicants, while five start-ups were selected to pitch at the Open Demo and Prize Giving Day, and three emerged winners.

Abdullahi stressed that it was part of the agency’s initiatives to identify youths with innovative ideas, take them to innovation hubs, incubate and accelerate their ideas into products or services.

He said the agency does that through its Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support Scheme.

He added that they were working with relevant stakeholders to identify hubs as well as start-ups that can enjoy the initiative.

Commenting on using new technologies in farming, the director-general stated that the Nigerian Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) would encourage farmers to focus more on digital platforms and precision smart farming.

“To ensure significant improvement in crop yield, quality of farm produce, efficiency and productivity, increased profit margin, we need harvest focus, sales of farm produce and eco-friendly agricultural practice.

“We are working with 150 farmers to start the pilot project, because the agriculture value chain contribute the highest percentage to our Gross Domestic Product.

“With ICT as an enabler, we can help boost its projection,” he added.


Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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NITDA clarifies on licensing law firms as DPCOs

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) says licensing some law firms as Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO) is to protect constitutional rights.

This clarification is contained in a statement signed by Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of the agency in Abuja on Friday.

It said that the clarification was necessary due to a social media post by a legal practitioner.

According to the post, licensing law firms as DPCOs to provide data-privacy related services to the public stifles the growth of data privacy in the country.

“The right to privacy is a constitutional right guaranteed by Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.

“However, it is factual and legal inaccuracy to equate the right of data privacy, or indeed the provision of data privacy-related services, to the right of data protection.

“Data protection goes beyond protecting personal data privacy.

“It also involves the processes, systems and rules to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data,’’ the statement read in part.

The agency further stated that the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) does not seek to inhibit, restrict or curtail the rights of the legal practitioner as provided by the Legal Practitioners Act.

NDPR has rather opened a new vista of opportunities for lawyers to expand their practice into the area of data protection.

NITDA licensed law firms to understand that they represent the agency in entrenching compliance, help data holding entities to bridge the historical and systemic gap in data protection compliance in Nigeria.’’

It explained that lawyers had a right to conduct, take part in proceedings and file court and administrative processes relating to the enforcement or defence of the right to privacy.

“However, not every lawyer has the competence to conduct and file annual data audit report as prescribed by Article 4.1:5,6,7 of the NDPR,’’ it stated.

According to the agency, the criteria for licensing as DPCO required knowledge of data protection compliance and enforcement, which was not part of the residual knowledge of every lawyer.

The opinion of the author that the DPCO scheme lacks precedent was a testimony to the innovation NITDA is bringing into its regulatory mandate.

“Moreover, as the evergreen Lord Denning said in the case of Parker v. Parker if we never do anything which has not been done before, we shall never get anywhere.

“While lawyers retain their privilege to traditional privacy rights advocacy and enforcement in most other jurisdictions, NDPR further recognises and institutionalises the capacity of prepared legal practitioners.

NDPR prepares the legal practitioner to participate in the audit, training and compliance services for data controllers and processors,’’ it added.

NITDA said that Nigeria’s model had become subject of intense studies for adoption within and outside Africa, which was encouraging.

It added that licensing of DPCOs by the agency had entrenched training and awareness on data privacy protection degenerating to jobs creation.

“Bureaucratic bottlenecks have been eliminated in the bid to comply and the country is fast-tracking its progress towards digital economy maturity.’’

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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NITDA presents national outsourcing strategy to stakeholders

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on Thursday presented its draft on National Outsourcing Strategy for Nigeria (NOSN) to stakeholders in an online engagement workshop for a better service delivery.

The Director-General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, said at the workshop in Abuja that the aim was to ensure the effective implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) of the Federal Government.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the strategy is a follow up to the Nigerian National Outsourcing Policy, which was launched in 2007.

Inuwa said that in 2019, Grand View Research had valued the global business process outsourcing market size at 221.5 billion USD and at a compound annual growth rate of eight per cent from 2020 to 2027.

He said that outsourcing market due to COVID-19 had forced organisations to cut cost by leveraging on the benefits of outsourcing for some business processes and focus on core competencies.

“Business process outsourcing offers services such as administration, supply chain management, sales, paralegal, marketing and customer care services.

“Players in the business compete by providing reliable and cost-effective services across industries and sectors such as government, healthcare, manufacturing, IT and telecommunications.

NITDA embarks on this journey to accelerate digital economy and transformation targeted at creating over a million jobs in Nigeria by 2025,” he said.

The director-general added that the strategy was in line with government initiative and priority projects such as the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and digitisation of government services.

According to him, the strategy will lift Nigerians out of poverty and transform the country to a knowledge-based economy in the wake of the current global pandemic.

He stated that the strategy implementation processes focused on seven pillars, which included development of infrastructure, skill and human capital, branding and promotion, digital finance and incentives.

He said others were innovation and entrepreneurship, trust, privacy and security, as well as multi-stakeholder governance engagement.

Inuwa called on the stakeholders to synergise with the agency to make Nigeria a better place and a force to reckon with in the global business outsourcing market.

“We have our competitive edge in the market, but to create and capture value in the global market we need to own this strategy and make it easier to implement by all,” he said.

Mr Ben Ewah, the Deputy Director, e-Government Development and Regulations Department of the agency, while elaborating on the expectations of the strategy, said it was designed as a response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Ewah said the strategy would target the onshore and offshore outsourcing markets and promote local, foreign direct investments in digital outsourcing infrastructure development.

“The outsourcing strategy will develop an export-oriented digital product and service industry with improved funding of Research and Development.

“It will develop a globally competitive Information Technology Enabled Services sector in Nigeria toward making the country a digital outsourcing hub globally,” Ewah said.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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NITDA issues supplementary guidelines to data protection regulation

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has issued the Management of Personal Data by Public Institutions in Nigeria 2020 guidelines, as a supplementary to the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) of 2019.

Its Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs Hadiza Umar, disclosed this on Monday in a statement issued in Abuja.

Umar said the guidelines were to enable the agency to implement its regulatory mandate.

“The guidelines stipulate the requirements for the processing of personal data by public institutions in Nigeria.

“It is issued to reinforce the implementation of the NDPR, while all the principles and provisions of the NDPR remain valid and applicable to all Nigerians including public institutions.

“The guidelines require all public institutions and any entity co-owned by the government to process all personal data of Nigerians and Data subjects in the country in line with best practices and highest standards.

“It takes cognisance of the fact that some public sector data processing may be founded on vital or public interest, so it requires public data controllers and processors to be ethical and professional.

“It also mandates the use of secure technology and automated processes for personal data by Public Institutions, in line with the requirements of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy,” she said.

Umar added that all public institutions holding and processing personal data were required to securely digitise all personal databases within 60 days from the issuance of the guidelines.

According to her, public institutions are required to maintain the highest level of information security to guarantee confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of all databases within their control.

She also recognised that there could be need for collaboration between the public and private sector to tackle emergencies or other state-led interventions for the benefit of citizens.

The official, however, said the guidelines provided a strict framework for such collaborations to ensure that the privacy of Nigerians was not unduly infringed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has brought up the need for more personal data use to limit the spread of the virus.

“While we recognise the existence of constitutional limitations on privacy rights in the interest of public health and safety, such limitations must be based on defined frameworks.

NITDA implores all concerned parties to comply strictly with the requirements of these guidelines and seek professional guidance from licensed Data Protection Compliance Organisations,” Umar said.

She aidd that the agency would ensure adequate compliance to the NDPR and other guidelines through monitoring, as well as sanction defaulting institutions as provided in NITDA and NDPR Act.

Umar urged all concerned parties to study the guidelines diligently, apply them accordingly and reach out to the agency for further clarifications.

She encouraged data processors and controllers to find available regulatory guidelines on the agency’s website: www.nitda.gov.ng.

The NDPR outlines the need to safeguard the right of natural persons to data privacy, fosters safe conduct for transactions involving the exchange of Personal Data, prevents personal data manipulation among other objectives.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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COVID-19: NITDA boss tasks ICT experts on post-pandemic innovations

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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, postCOVID-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 postCOVID-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.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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COVID-19: Pantami wants NITDA,others to source research grants for digital solutions

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Dr Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has called on the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and other agencies to source research grants to support digital innovation on COVID-19.

Pantami made the call on Thursday in a virtual demonstration of NITDA’s Innovation Challenge on COVID-19’s possible solutions monitored in Abuja.

News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the challenge was targeted at leveraging on using indigenous innovative technology to address the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NAN also reports that the NITDA committee on COVID-19 Innovation challenge was set up in April 3 and they received 1,519 applications, while the best five were selected to demonstrate their solutions.

The first three successful applications were awarded and they include Algorizmi Health, an application that would address scaling up the availability of ventilators as first position.

Smart Disinfection Chambers, an application on smart tunnel for disinfection of perdons entering a location stood out at second position.

MyClinic.ng, an application that enhances remote patient management took the third position.

The solutions were accessed based on potential impact of innovation with regard to COVID-19, adaptability, scalability, creativity and presentation skills.

The minister recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, last year launched the National Digital Economy Strategy which was expected to be implemented between 2020 and 2030.

According to him, part of the strategy was to focus on promoting research and innovation locally.

NITDA, the Nigerian Communications Commission, other parastatal agencies under the ministry should look into their budget and find a way of raising research grants for the support of innovative ideas.

“Their support should be basically on digital solutions because we need to promote research to eradicate COVID-19 in Nigeria, Africa and globally,” Pantami said.

He awarded the first three successful entries with N1,000,000, N750,000, N500,000 respectively and urged NITDA to facilitate the incubation of the solutions for COVID-19.

Pantami also urged NITDA to facilitate making a presentation of the solutions to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for possible ways of leveraging them to address the pandemic in the country.

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Mr Kashifu Inuwa,D-G NITDA (right) and participant at the online innovation challenge.

The Director-General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, in his welcome remarks earlier, said the pandemic had presented the world with health and economic crises.

According to Inuwa, the lockdown needed to contain the spread of the virus that had degenerated to economic crisis but digitising industry processes could resuscitate the economy.

Inuwa added that the agency was deploying several strategies to address the COVID-19 crisis which includes the Innovation Challenge.

He, however, expressed hope that the solutions presented through the challenge would address problems associated with the pandemic.

Prof. Charles Uwadia, Chairman-in-Council, Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), commended the initiative.

Uwadia said that it was a way of projecting Nigeria positively to the global community.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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COVID-19: NITDA tasks professionals, researchers on solutions

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Mr Kafishu Abdullahi, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency  (NITDA), has challenged   researchers, professionals, among others to come up with `tailor fitted solutions’ to  tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Abdullahi spoke on Friday in Abuja at an online event `COVID-19: Hackathon,’ also called `Hack the Crisis in Nigeria.’

Abdullahi in his keynote address, `COVID-19: Nigeria’s status and update,’ said beyond the health crisis, the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic since its outbreak, has also demonstrated to be a socio-economic scourge.

“The post COVID-19 era will have an economy shaped by new habits, policies and regulations based on reduced close-contact interaction.

“Ten shifts will happen in many fronts: geopolitics, human behaviour, industry dynamics, macro economics, regulation and technology among others, ’’ he said.

The NITDA director general explained that the shifts had already begun, especially in the area of technology, adding that digital technology in particular would take the lead henceforth.

He said the country was already experiencing it as there were restricted travels, limited gatherings and that remote working was in vogue.

“And here we are running an online event to turn things around,’’ Abdullahi said.

According to him, economic managers around the world are already taking swift and holistic measures to forestall a recession.

He said it was clear that more needs to be done, particularly in Nigeria, to guarantee a return to normalcy.

Abdullahi said that Nigeria could not afford to be a layback at this time and while waiting for vaccine to be developed by scientists, Nigerians possess profound intellect and competencies to tackle COVID-19.

He assured that the Federal Government, together with relevant ministries, would work together.

Dr Rose Gidado, Lead Strategic Partnerships, Hack the Crisis Nigeria, in her welcome address, said that the event was aimed at creating awareness, preventing and reducing the incidence of infections.

She said other aims were to support the management of infections as well as flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection through a Hackathon project.

She disclosed that the Hackathon project was a three- day exclusive online innovation event, to inspire and spur every citizen of Nigeria, especially the youths, in thinking of real solutions to curbing the crisis.

She said the project was supported by Global Stakeholders, such as Accelerate Estonia, Garage 48 Estoniaand, the National Information Technology Development Agency(NITDA).

Others  include the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) and other experts.

Gidado, also Country Coordinator, Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa, Nigeria chapter, as well as Deputy Director, NABDA, said all hands must be on deck to win the fight against the disease.

“The winning teams at the event will get the opportunity to present their solutions to investors, philanthropic funds and policymakers to effect a positive change needed in the crisis,’’ she said.

Speaking on behalf of Prof. Zoakah, President of the Epidemiological Society of Nigeria, Gidado commended the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for efforts made so far in containing  the virus.

NAN reports that the event was organised by the 100 Women in Tech Nigeria, in collaboration with stakeholders in the technology and health sectors within and outside Nigeria.

The platform was initiated to enable women in the technology industry have visibility, influence and representation in Nigeria through creation of awards.

Particularly, it was designed to receive innovative ideas and solutions to COVID-19 in Nigeria which are prototypal within 48 hours.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Obike Ukoh (NAN)

 

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Girls in ICT Day: NITDA says sector needs more women, girls

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), says the country needs more women and girls to build careers in the ICT sector for fair representation and socio-economic development.

Mrs Hadiza Umar, NITDA Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, said this in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja to commemorate this year’s “Girls in ICT Day”.

The Girls in ICT Day was initiated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in 2014, to create a global environment that empowers girls and young women to consider careers in ICT.

It is marked every fourth Thursday in April.

According to her, building a career in ICT makes one reliant economically, improve lives, contributes to better healthcare, environmental management, communication, enhanced educational system and learning processes.

Umar said that jobs in the future would be driven by technology and innovation.

“NITDA is drawing attention to the critical need for more girls and women to participate actively in the ICT sector of our economy.

“The ITU had estimated skills shortfall of over two million jobs in the ICT sector within the next few years.

“This opens a huge opportunity for girls and young women who have the ability to learn Coding, Apps Development, Computer Science and other ICT related courses.

“This will not only make them ready for a successful career in the ICT sector, but ICT skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in any other field they might choose to pursue.

“We must be proactive in preparing a significant number of our women and girls’ population for these opportunities, for productivity and enable them contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the country,” she said.

Umar said that globally, there was a disruption in human activities, hence no gender of the population should be left out in the new world order.

She said that stakeholders should remain resolute, review strategies toward supporting young women and girls for opportunities in the tech ecosystem.

Umar said in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, the Agency was bridging ICT sector gender imbalance with capacity building programmes for women and girls across the country.

She said that empowering girls to choose a career in ICT was good for the girls and their families.

According  to her, it will also accelerate the socio-economic development of the country, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and post era.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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