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Director, Zonal Offices Directorate, NITDA, Babajide Ajayi, Delivering the DG's Keynote Address at the Stakeholders' Engagement Meeting in Uyo.

"Digitalisation changes things for the better, eliminates obstacles, and creates new chances that we couldn't even think of before; our responsibility is therefore to take hold of these possibilities and use them to transform society." Kashifu Inuwa.

In its drive to partner and collaborate with stakeholders, create awareness and visibility of the programmes of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as well as provide opportunity for states to take advantage of the provision of the Agency's Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024), the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE has emphasised the need for an inclusive approach to achieve the desired results.

The DG who was represented by the Agency's Director, Zonal Offices Directorate, Ajayi Babajide Ayodimej made this known during a one-day stakeholders’ workshop programme in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Capital, organised by the Agency in collaboration with the state's Ministry of Science and Technology

Inuwa said, as Nigeria navigates digitalisation and entrepreneurial evolution, NITDA stands as a beacon of guidance and is committed to providing an enabling environment, a framework of support, and a platform for collaboration that empowers all stakeholders to be catalysts of change.

The DG added that whereas available resources are at the disposal of industry players, the Agency's doors are open to partnerships that would pave the way for a digitally empowered future.

"Digitalisation is when digital technology becomes a part of every aspect of society. It is not just a fancy word but it is what causes big changes in industries because it changes the way we do business, take care of our health, educate ourselves, and even govern.

"In fact, Digitalisation changes things for the better, eliminates obstacles, and creates new chances that we couldn't even think of before; our responsibility is therefore to take hold of these possibilities and use them to transform society," Inuwa stressed.

Inuwa who described the theme of the event: 'Creating Opportunities, Breaking Boundaries: Towards Digitalisation and Entrepreneurial Evolution' as apt for the engagement, noted that the gathering was not only to discuss concepts, but to chart a course that will redefine industries, empower individuals, and shape the future of the nation.

"Modern digital technologies have changed how uncertainty in business processes and results work and how we can effectively handle these uncertainties.

"This brings up important questions about where digital technologies and entrepreneurship intersect, especially in digital business. We think about two main results: more flexible business processes and results, and less fixed places where business decisions are made", the DG said.

According to the DG, to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, NITDA established the Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI) and the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), stressing that these Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) have supported startups, including technology incubation, acceleration programmes, and training for students.

The innovation ecosystem in Nigeria, he affirmed, has attracted significant investments and produced multiple successful startups, including unicorns.

"Today, as we focus on entrepreneurial evolution, we underscore the need to nurture a culture that not only welcomes innovation but also celebrates resilience in the face of adversity", Inuwa avowed. 

The NITDA Boss informed participants that creating opportunities demands a multi-stakeholder approach and therefore there is need to continue to foster an environment where creativity flourishes, risk is cushioned by support, and innovation is rewarded.

"Our digital landscape is bursting with ideas waiting to be transformed into impactful solutions; as we engage in conversations and partnerships today, let us remember that each connection forged, each idea shared, and each resource pooled is a step towards unlocking these opportunities", the Director-General urged.

He added that NITDA is currently drafting the National Digital Equality Strategy for Women (NDESW), which seeks to ensure equitable access and opportunities in the digital environment, empowering women to fully participate in the digital economy, adding that the National Digital Skills Strategy (NDSS) is a strategic roadmap that will aid digital literacy and talent development in Nigeria.

Inuwa further reiterated the fact that the meeting was viewed as a veritable platform to pool knowledge, experience, and expertise, and to co-create solutions, articulate strategies, and extend NITDA's services to all stakeholders, especially at the grassroots.

"The true measure of our success lies not just in the strides made by some, but in the progress achieved by all; so, bridging the digital divide, enhancing digital literacy, and ensuring equitable access to technology are vital components of our journey, because only then can we proudly declare that we are on the path of complete transformation", Inuwa maintained.

The Honourable Commissioner for Science and Technology, Akwa Ibom State, Imoh Moffat represented by the Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Lawson David enumerated five critical focus areas for the Ministry which included embracing the digital revolution, nurturing a culture of innovation, empowering the digital workforce, bridging the digital divide and cyber security.

"As stakeholders of NITDA, we have a unique opportunity to drive innovation, foster a culture of creativity and bridge the digital divide and by empowering our workforce, protecting our digital future and embracing the digital revolution, we can position Nigeria as a global leader in the digital era", Moffat assured.

The event which brought brilliant minds together also served as a testament to mutually shared commitment to dismantle barriers that hinder progress, thereby shifting efforts towards promoting knowledge exchange, facilitating access to resources, and fostering mentorship that will  enable a wave of innovation that transcends traditional limits.

The meeting also featured panel discussions, topical presentations by NITDA, keynote addresses, interactive sessions, and goodwill messages from participants and adoption of a communique 

Furthermore, the stakeholder’s engagement underscored NITDA’s aspirations to bring the organisation closer to its stakeholders especially at the subnational levels, through increasingly becoming a process-driven, data-dependent, and results-oriented organisation in tandem with its core values of “People First, Innovation and Professionalism. 

The event was also organised to enable the Agency to begin to pool knowledge, experience, and expertise, articulate Digital Economy development strategies, and co-create solutions, in collaboration with stakeholders.

The programme was attended by 81 participants drawn from the state as participants ranged from various stakeholder groups from ICT experts, government representatives, academia, start-ups, ICT associations, technology solution providers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and individual stakeholders in the Digital Economy Sector. 

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