Nigeria to partner with American technology company on digital services

Na'ankwat Dariem

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Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is to collaborate with an American technology company, Amazon on digital services for operators in the country

The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa made this known to Journalists after he received the Amazon representative in Africa and the Middle East, Narrimane Benakcha, in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The visit provided an opportunity for the Director General to explain the mandate of the agency and its scope of operation in implementing the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a digital Nigeria.

Inuwa expressed concerns over the enormous cost incurred by some fintech operators in accessing hosting services from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and other related services.

“As a government, we have a Cloud-first strategy. We encourage even the government’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to go to Cloud because it is easier, cheaper, faster and convenient to deploy your services without the stress of overhead and other costs,” he said.

According to him; No government in this world would prefer to be dependent on other countries for digital services, because our life today is centred around digital services.

He urged Amazon and other multinational organisations to have a common interest in Nigeria, adding that the market is appropriate and foretells that Nigeria will be the next frontier in digital services.

Inuwa postulated that digital services would thrive in Nigeria because of the nation’s youthful population.

“Africa has the fastest-growing population and one of the youngest populations in the world, with the fastest-growing broadband penetration and other factors that can accelerate digital business.

The NITDA boss, therefore, implored Amazon to consider investing in the data centre in Nigeria to support startups and other entrepreneurs, adding that the government is creating an enabling environment and levelling the playing field for everyone in the industry.

He appreciated the fact that Amazon now has offices in Nigeria but said the country would benefit more if Amazon could collaborate with the government in areas that would enhance and support startups and innovators.

The Director General recalled Google’s recent selection of 60 startups across Africa where Nigeria got 23 slots in its Google Black Founders Fund (BFF) which enabled the upscale of their ongoing projects.

According to Inuwa, the public sector policy, which is the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), has an ambitious target of digitising all government services with 98 per cent of broadband coverage by 2030.

He noted that the Head of Civil Service is working with MDAs to implement the Electronic Management System (EMS) to ensure paperless documentation processes by 2030. All of these, he said, were already being implemented at NITDA.

The NITDA boss affirmed that the government, through NITDA, is ready to learn from Amazon’s experience in other jurisdictions, especially in policy and regulations.

“We are interested in building talents because it’s one of the major global challenges.

According to him, NITDA is already working on the national talent strategy, training 1 million developers in the next 18 months and several digital capacity-building programmes.

In her response, Benakcha appreciated the open-door policy of NITDA and assured the Director General of the company’s readiness to operate in Nigeria.

Amazon is an American multinational technology company which focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming and artificial intelligence.




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