National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is a federal government agency saddled with the responsibility of developing and ensuring the growth of information technology in the country. The agency formulates policies and programmes to achieve this mandate which is supervised by its director general.
Over the years, the agency has witnessed several director generals who during their tenure have made impacts towards the growth and development of information technology. But, the current director general in the person of Mallam Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi has distinguished himself with several accomplishments within the short period of taking over as the helmsman at the agency.
Come Wednesday August 20, 2020 will mark his first 365 days in office, having been appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on August 20, 2019, Mallam Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi has been able to implement notable regulatory instruments: like Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework (Ne-GIF); Nigeria Cloud Computing Policy (NCCP);Nigeria ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision (NIIEV);Framework and Guidelines for ICT adoption in Tertiary Institutions; Guidelines for Nigeria Content Development ICT as amended; and Data Protection Implementation Framework.
Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi is a Technology expert with over fourteen years of working experience in Information Technology operations, business transformation and solution architecture, across both private and public sectors.
He graduated with Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi State, Nigeria and was Massachusetts Institute of Technology trained as MIT Sloan strategist.
As the world and Nigeria grapple with the effects of COVID-19 and its attendant dire economic impacts on the global economy, the agency under Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi leadership has embarked on strategic projects to ensure that our economy recover from the effects of the pandemic.
The landmark initiatives launched to cushion the effects of the pandemic and ensure that technology continues to enable business continuity were:
Tech4COVID19 Initiative – This initiative was launched to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the tech ecosystem and proffer solutions especially for startups. The Committee set-up by the agency came up with a Strategic Plan to ensure that the country retains about 100,000 ICT Jobs and create an additional 30,000 in the Post COVID-19 Era.
Virtual Startup Clinic – This initiative was setup to gather Startups, mostly young people to meet with mentors, successful entrepreneurs, investors, industry specialists, business consultants and hub operators with the goal of solving problems and challenges they were facing.
Nigeria COVID-19 Innovation Challenge– This is an online innovation challenge held to meet the challenges the country is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the inaugural challenge 5 startups with highly innovative ideas were selected for the final challenge and 3 of them were selected for further incubation. A support of ₦1 000,000, ₦750,000 and ₦500,000 were won by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners respectively.
NITDA Technology Innovation & Entrepreneurship Support Scheme– This is a scheme to support startups and hubs across the country. With over 120 hubs in Nigeria, NITDA is finalizing plans to ensure rapid intervention is provided for hubs and startups based on competence and carefully selected criteria.
SMART Agric Project- This is an initiative by the agency which aims to engage farmers and focus on using precision/smart farming to ensure significant improvement in crop yield, quality of farm produce, efficiency and productivity; increased profit margin, harvest forecast, sales of farm produce and eco-friendly agriculture practice. During this pandemic, we have engaged 130 farmers on this Project.
NITDA Academy– This is a platform for virtual learning where thousands of young Nigerians can have access to a wide range of educational courses and tools online, this basically addresses challenges students face in assessing educational materials.
Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi at recent event said that his administration will focus on implementing a strategic roadmap for the development of Nigeria’s IT sector, which consists of 7 pillars that are in alignment with the 8 pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy.
According to him, “The 7 key pillars of our Roadmap are IT Regulation, Capacity Building, Digital Inclusion, Digital Job Creation, Government Digital Service Promotion, Local Content Development, and Cybersecurity.
“We have rolled out several policies, regulations, and programmes, focusing on those areas.
“However, as the roadmap is set to expire this year as the Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which it draws from.
“We have already commenced reviewing it as well as developing the next plan, which will soon be launched.
“It is in alignment with and takes cognizance of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) and other important plans and policies of this administration”.
Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi will no doubt leave an indelible footprint at NITDA and the Nigeria IT space. His unprecedented records of achievements within first one year in office are a testament of his contribution and support to the growth and development of the ICT Sector in Nigeria.