NITDA unveils policy to drive digital innovation, entrepreneurship
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), under supervision of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, has publicly unveiled the Nigeria Digital Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Startup Policy (NDIESP).
The NDIESP recently launched in Abuja, is in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria – an initiative the federal government is leveraging to grow Nigeria‘s economy through digital technologies.
“The reason we gathered here today is to present a draft National Digital Entrepreneurship and Innovation Policy which has the primary objective of digital transformation of our economy with the potential of boosting economic growth and economic diversification. This is a task that requires all hands to be on deck,” said Director General, NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi.
The NDISEP comprises of five priority areas namely: Advancing Human Capital, Unlocking Access to Capital, Enabling Infrastructure, Boosting Demand, and Promoting Innovative Entrepreneurship.
All are designed to drive innovation and entrepreneurship among millions of young Nigerians by empowering them to utilize digital technologies as envisioned by the political leadership led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
With Nigeria’s early exit from recession, NDISEP proposes that digital innovation and entrepreneurship will help fast track the recovery of other traditional economic sectors, added Abdullahi.
This is possible “by supporting the provision and adoption of indigenous and tailor-made solutions for nationwide implementation of the policy through automation, smart processes and ICT solutions, Abdulahi stressed. He was represented at the function by Director ITIS, Dr. Usman Gambo Abdullahi.
According to the NITDA boss, the success of the policy is hinged on its adoption by stakeholders in government, innovation-driven enterprises, consumers of innovation, technology start-ups, innovation hubs and labs, investors, academia, funding agencies, civil society organisations, service providers, and others.
“Even as we put all these in place, we must also commit to promoting digital entrepreneurship amongst our youth by all means necessary and put in place the framework that boosts demand for digital products in the economy through government patronage by procurement of these digital innovation products,” Abdullahi said.
He said Nigeria must pay attention to harnessing the quality and the relevance of its population while it continues to maintain the 60:40 ratio of STEM students in universities to other disciplines.
Attention must be paid to the curricular that are being used to teach and how relevant they are to the digital economy, he advised.
He further stated that there is no innovation where new knowledge does not exist.
According to him, the most innovative countries in the world that control the market share of the $11.5 trillion global digital economy are the countries with immense public and private sectors that are funding research and development.
He said, “We must commit to accelerating our research and development; beginning with our intellectual property environment and solving the underlying problems of funding for innovation research.
“Also relevant to the realization of our Digital Nigeria vision is the funding required for startups, spinoffs and already established companies in their quest for digital solutions development for the market.
“It is in the application of knowledge and its conversion into useful products for the people that innovation ushers in prosperity. While many tax incentives exist already, we must bring together these initiatives in ways that ensure ease of access to those who need to access them.
“Beyond tax incentives, we must also create innovative ways of facilitating patient venture capital that will provide the runway that these innovative companies require.”