The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has reiterated the need for a closer tie with startups in the country.
NITDA said collaboration with startups in the country has become crucial to, among others, deepen indigenous information and communications technology (ICT) contents, adding that promotion of local content agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has remained one its focal points.
The promotion of indigenous content which is one of the strategic pillars of the NITDA’s Strategic Road Map and Action Plan 2021-2024 was designed specifically to create opportunities for the development of homegrown solutions to meet the country’s needs as well as create wealth for the nation.
NITDA’s Director-General, Kashifu Inuwa, while giving a keynote address at the virtual maiden edition of the Innovation Ecosystem Engagement, last weekend, said that Nigeria cannot be great globally if it doesn’t build locally.
The DG, who expressed his excitement at the prospects of the event stated that it was geared towards listening to active startup ecosystem players and proffering solutions on how NITDA can collaborate to mitigate the challenges being faced by the ecosystem.
Inuwa described the tech ecosystems as a ‘home’, and stated that he understood the frustrations and challenges of local startups in the country because that was where he started from. “I started very early when I was in 200 level. I perfectly understand how rough the journey is. I know how important it is to have enabling policies and infrastructure and how painful it is to fail”, he averred.
He, however, disclosed that currently, he has taken it upon himself to utilize all resources and opportunities at his disposal to make the tech ecosystem a more viable and better one.
Inuwa, while giving assurances of the present administration’s support towards the tech ecosystem, highlighted policies enacted such as the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy in 2019, the National Broadband Plan in 2020, the draft Start-up’s bill for onward transmission to the National Assembly in 2021 and the launch of the 5G policy which was developed to create enabling environments for start-ups to thrive.
The NITDA boss expressed his delight at the achievement attained by the local start-ups in building the most investment appealing ecosystem in Africa, attracting over $1.5 billion, a figure, which he claimed represented 35 per cent of total investments in Africa in 2021, but urged them to take it to the global level. “This is unprecedented, but for me, there is no passion playing small and settling for leading only in Africa if we can compete globally”, he opined.
The DG disclosed that the Agency is currently rebranding and recalibrating its activities to align with the ecosystem, noting that “a symbiotic relationship with local start-ups is essential to foster the e economic development of the country.”
“You need the government and the government needs you and together we can do great things. Together we can redefine, create and shape our tomorrow”, he stated.