NITDA banks on digital literacy for economic growth

The National Information Technology Development Agency has called for more emphasis on digital literacy to solve the country’s economic challenges.

Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at the Innovation Challenge organised by Financial Services Innovators and Nigeria Association of Computing Students in Abuja.

The event featured a competition on software development meant to address the dominance of cash transactions, manual processes and access to financial services among retailers, as well as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Abdullahi, whose paper was entitled ‘Technology Renaissance for Innovations and Productivity’, maintained that at the heart of diversification and growth of the economy, reduction of poverty and job creation is digital literacy.

According to him, equipping Nigerian youths with the necessary digital literacy skills would facilitate Nigeria’s transition to a digital economy.

He noted that the Nigerian government’s effort in ensuring that at least 95 per cent of Nigerians are digitally literate within the next 10 years was on course, adding that about 200,000 Nigerians had been trained.

“The global economy is now driven by technology. The richest countries are making money from digital economy not resources. Innovation is about invention and commercialisation. Invention costs money, but innovation makes money. We have so many initiatives, which we use to help people develop soft skills, expose them to networks and new ecosystem

“As an agency, we have gone to every nook and cranny of this country to train people in rural areas on digital literacy. We have specialised programmes for women, artisans and farmers. We collaborate with stakeholders to organise this kind of event to empower Nigerian youths to come up with innovative solutions to our problems. This is the only way that can lead us out of poverty, and create posterity because globally developed countries prioritise innovation,” he said.

He said the competition would provide potential for the nation to harness.

Executive Director, FSI, Aituaz Kola-Oladejo, said the organisation was poised to create an environment for young innovators to thrive.

Lamenting that innovation has yet to be democratised in Nigeria, Kola-Oladejo said democratising innovation would create all-inclusive products at affordable rates for Nigerians.

“This is when we, as a nation, would fully achieve digital, social, financial and economy inclusion. However, it will involve the active participation of every stakeholder, financial and non-financial institutions, fintechs and government agencies,” she added.

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