The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) will be partnering with LEAP Africa to harness the potentials of young Nigerians in the field of technology and entrepreneurship.
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LEAP Africa is a non-profit organisation that focuses on leadership development. Its new deal with NITDA will allow both organisations to equip young people with the necessary skills to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the tech industry, said Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdulahi during a recent visit by LEAP Africa to NITDA. The non-profit organisation was led by its Executive Director, Kehinde Ayeni.
The NITDA boss expressed worries that the surge in migration of Nigerian youths to other countries in quest of a better life was gradually depleting the nation’s talent resources.
This has forced the Federal Government to create enabling opportunities through the implementation of developmental guidelines, mentorship programmes, establishment of social infrastructures and funding to enable innovation and entrepreneurship thrive in the country.
It has become necessary to “harness the talents of Nigerian youth and exploit potential for their individual benefits and that of the country as the country enjoys global competitive advantage due to its large population of young people,” Abdulahi said.
According to him, the new Nigeria Startup Act offers the two organisation, “a vital instrument to unlock and ignite activities in the innovative and entrepreneurship ecosystem,” a robust area for collaboration with LEAP Africa.
His words: “the Act has been signed into law, the Council has been inaugurated, we have developed the implementation framework and we need partners to work together to implement it. We believe in collaboration because we cannot succeed in isolation. So, we need to work together as an ecosystem to achieve that”.
Already, the implementation committee for the startup act is already working through sub-committees to identify thematic areas to achieve the objectives of the new law which include ecosystem development, capacity building, funding, tax and fiscal incentives.
He said the National Outsourcing Strategy and the National Digital Talent Strategy are other initiatives developed by the IT regulatory and development agency in upskilling players within the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem adding that there were already plans to build innovation hub clusters across the country to develop the capacities of talented Nigerian youths and make them marketable globally.
“We want focus on services which are digitally driven and provide the talent to build those services. You can live in Nigeria, then connect to the global value chain and earn better. You don’t need to travel and that’s what will help us to build the Nigeria we want”, he said.
Ayeni expressed the commitment of LEAP Africa to work with NITDA. According to her, LEAP Africa, in its 20 years of existence, has been involved in several projects such as the Social Innovation Programme, Nigerian Youths Futures Fund and the iLEAD programme to build capacities of youth and bridge the digital divide in the country.
“As we continue to look at our impact over the last 20 years, one of the shortcomings that we found is what technology could do for us and the power of innovation in ensuring that the Nigeria and Africa that we are striving for is possible”, she added.