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NITDA, IFC Partner to Build Strong Institutions, Sustainability of Nigeria Digital Economy

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National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is set to collaborate with the International Financial Corporation (IFC) by co-creating robust regulatory frameworks in implementing government policies aimed at digitally transforming the country and sustaining a vibrant digital economy.

NITDA DG, Kashifu Inuwa CCIE (right) presenting the agency’ SRAP to the IFC’s Senior Economist, Nadege D. Yameogo, PhD

Kashifu Inuwa, director general of NITDA, made the disclosure when he played host to a delegation from the IFC, led by the corporation’s Senior Economist, Nadege D. Yameogo, PhD, at the corporate headquarters of the agency in Abuja.

Inuwa noted that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has mandated the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy to enhance productivity through technological innovation in diversifying the nation’s economy, stating that a strategic plan with 5 strategic pillars has been unveiled by the ministry to achieve this.

While enumerating the pillars as Knowledge, Policies, Infrastructure, Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Captial, and lastly, Trade, he explained that knowledge is the foundation upon which countries build a robust and sustainable economy and it was imperative to create an enabling environment where innovations and entrepreneurship ecosystem can thrive and commercialised globally.

“When we invest and we build the infrastructure, it will enable us to trade “made in Nigeria” products and services, as well as our greatest resource, which is our talent”, he reemphasized.

Inuwa further noted that the agency is re-crafting its Strategic Roadmap & Action Plan (SRAP) policy document in implementing the Ministry’s strategic plan of accelerating the country’s collective prosperity through technical efficiency.

Expressing his enthusiasm at having the visitors on board for the agency’s stakeholder engagement on re-crafting the agency’s SRAP, Inuwa mentioned that the aim is to co-design the document so that the ecosystem could co-create the strategy and implement it.

Noting that the document would have 8 strategic pillars, he said that Fostering Digital Literacy and Cultivating Talent will be the first pillar.

“We have the National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF) where we have a target of achieving 95% digital literacy by 2030, and we have a midterm target of 70% by 2027. So, in the designing of this strategy, we want to get the stakeholders that will execute because we want it to be a strategy for execution”, he said.

The NITDA DG expressed his optimism that with the population of youths in the country if well harnessed and cultivated, Nigeria could compete with any country globally in terms of rendering services.

He said that the agency is willing to bring all stakeholders on board in providing inputs on how to design the strategy and identify some legal frameworks for the second pillar which is to ‘Strengthen Policy Implementation and Legal Frameworks.’

While emphasizing the need for the country to invest in deep research of technology, he stated that the third pillar is about Building a Robust Technology Research Ecosystem.

“Remember the mandate is to enhance productivity in critical sectors, so we see the digital economy beyond just being within the IT sector. It is pervasive so our goal is to apply it in different sectors to increase productivity”, he noted.

Inuwa further disclosed that the fourth pillar is on Promoting Inclusive Access to Digital Infrastructure & Services which according to him, will bridge the digital divide in the country and ensure everyone has access to the safe and responsible use of digital devices and platforms.

“We have a target of 40% of women inclusion as well as people living with disability and children as well. We have different initiatives for all these demographic groups”, he added.

He stated that the fifth pillar is on Strengthening Cyber Security and Enhancing Digital Trust because it was important to build the trust of Nigerians through the development of legal frameworks for digital signatures and public key infrastructures.

Revealing the sixth pillar as Nurturing an Innovative and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Inuwa asserted that investing in talents will create many innovative solutions for the health care, education and financial inclusion challenges the country is currently experiencing.

He mentioned that the seventh and eighth pillars are Forging Strategic Partnership & Collaboration, and Institutional Reform respectively, the NITDA DG stated that the agency’s willingness to build strategic partnerships with the visitors as well as building skill sets and cultivation of employee mindsets in carving a formidable agency.

“We believe we can learn from you and other organisations through strategic partnership and collaboration so that we can build strong institutions in Nigeria and Africa”, he concluded.

In her earlier remark, Ms. Yameogo expressed her excitement at collaborating with NITDA in the promotion and sustenance of the country’s digital economy.

She remarked that their priority area of interest is in the digital economy, stating that the developmental impact it can bring in terms of job creation, reducing regional disparities, creating opportunities for private investment and bringing more private capital into the country cannot be overemphasized.

Yameogo explained that digital infrastructure is an area that needs more attention, she maintained that it is an area where private investors can intervene in terms of Agri tech, Creative tech and Health care tech.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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AfriLabs, Korea-Africa Foundation in Strategic Partnership to Boost African Innovation

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African hubs network AfriLabs has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Korea-Africa Foundation for a strategic partnership aimed at driving innovation and economic growth across the continent.

AfriLabs is a network organisation that is committed to driving innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent by bringing together technology hubs, startups, investors, and other key stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Having recently announced the admission of 16 new hubs, AfriLabs now has a network of 478 hubs across 260 cities in 53 African nations.

The Korea-Africa Foundation, meanwhile, aims to serve as a platform for collaboration between the private and public sectors, and to strengthen exchange and cooperation with African countries.

The collaboration between the two aims to bridge the gap between Korean and African startups by leveraging each other’s expertise and resources. This will be achieved through the exchange of insights on youth development, the launch of joint research initiatives, and the fostering of a dynamic ecosystem that cultivates talent and entrepreneurial spirit in both regions.

“At AfriLabs, we are dedicated to unlocking Africa’s full potential and generating wealth through strategic alliances. This partnership with the Korea-Africa Foundation unlocks a treasure trove of opportunities for startups, granting them access to a global network, invaluable resources, and unparalleled industry knowledge.

“Together, we will empower the next generation of African innovators and entrepreneurs, paving the way for sustainable development and a thriving economy,” said Anna Ekeledo, executive director of AfriLabs.


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$750m World Bank Loan:  FG May Reintroduce Telcoms, Gambling Taxes

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Federal government may reintroduce the controversial telecom tax and other fiscal measures to fulfill one of the conditions for The World Bank’s fresh $750 million loan to Nigeria.

$750m World Bank Loan:  FG May Reintroduce Telcoms, Gambling Taxes

Experts have however strongly opposed new taxes, calling them harmful to the sector’s survival and the larger economy.

But The World Bank in programme appraisal document, dated May 17, 2024, on the loan disbursement to Nigeria, said that $750 million loan to Nigeria will support the federal government’s policy reforms.

A copy of the plan’s document posted on the World Bank website indicated that the government might reintroduce the excises on telecom services, and EMT levy on electronic money transfers through the Nigerian Banking System among other taxes.

Recall that on June 13, Wale Edun, minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, announced the approval of two financial support packages by the World Bank valued at $2.25 billion.

The loan consists of $1.5 billion for Nigeria’s reforms for economic stabilisation to enable transformation (RESET) development policy financing program (DPF) and $750 million for Nigeria’s accelerating resource mobilisation reforms (ARMOR) program-for-results (PforR).

In the programme appraisal document, the World Bank said the ARMOR programme contains revenue policy measures such as raising pro-health taxes on tobacco, and alcohol.

The Bretton Woods institution also said the programme contains the introduction of taxes on online betting and gambling, as well as new excise on telecommunication services.

Experts have however warned that these taxes would have severe consequences for investment and the operational viability of telecom companies.

According to them, higher taxes would hinder digitalization efforts, which are crucial for economic growth.

The proposed tax measures, according to the industry, are not only damaging to the telecom sector but also to the broader economy.

 

 


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EFCC, Flutterwave to Establish Cybercrime Centre for Security of Transactions

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Flutterwave, unicorn payments technology company have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to establish and a state-of-the-art Cybercrime Research Centre.

EFCC, Flutterwave to Establish Cybercrime Centre for Security of Transactions

Areas of focus of the centre include advanced fraud detection and prevention, policy development, as well as youth empowerment.

The fintech company with fortunes worth over $1bn headquartered in San Francisco with footprints in Nigeria and other African countries said the centre would also provide a “sustainable lifeline to youths across the country”.

To this effect, the Silicon Valley-based company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the anti-graft agency in Abuja.

Ola Olukoyede, chairman, EFCC; Olugbenga Agboola, founder, Flutterwave; Christopher Gray, director of Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); and other senior officials from both the EFCC and the FBI witnessed the signing of the MoU

Specifically, the MoU was signed by Mohammadu Hammajoda, secretary, EFCC and Agboolaof Flutterwave.

Olukoyede said, “This partnership marks a significant leap forward in our efforts to combat financial crimes and ensure a secure financial landscape for Nigerians. The Cybercrime Research Centre will significantly enhance our capabilities to prevent, detect, and prosecute financial crimes.”

On his part, Agboola said, “This initiative underscores our commitment to creating a fraud-free financial ecosystem and leading the charge in safeguarding transactions across Africa.

“We applaud the EFCC’s relentless efforts to combat internet fraud and other illicit activities in the financial sector.”

The Cybercrime Research Centre, to be established at the new EFCC Academy in Abuja, would serve as a hub for advanced research, training, and capacity building in the fight against financial crimes.

Areas of focus of the centre include advanced fraud detection and prevention, collaborative research and policy development, youth empowerment and capacity building, technological advancement and resource enablement, among other key areas.

“Advanced Fraud Detection and Prevention: Developing and implementing cutting-edge technologies to detect and prevent financial fraud. The centre will offer comprehensive training for law enforcement and industry professionals to combat modern financial crimes effectively.

“Collaborative Research and Policy Development: Engaging in joint research initiatives and policy formulation to enhance the understanding and regulation of financial crime. The centre will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices between the public and private sectors.

“Youth Empowerment and Capacity Building: Providing high-end training and research opportunities for 500 youths, equipping them with the skills needed to navigate and excel in the digital economy.

“Technological Advancement and Resource Enablement: Creating a repository of advanced tools, technologies, and resources to support financial crime investigations, including protocols for addressing emerging threats such as cryptocurrency-related crimes,” the statement concluded.

Birthed in 2016 by Agboola, fondly referred to as GB, Flutterwave, with its corporate headquarters in San Francisco and operational head office in Lagos State, grew within a short time, penetrating the African market with customisable payments applications through its unique Application Programming Interface.

 

 


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