By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi (NITDA) says Nigerians must learn to adopt digital economy because it is the only economy that works in this COVID-19 era.
He therefore stated that the best approach to adopt at post COVID-19 world is to think Digital First.
By adopting digital first approach, he averred that recovery from the crisis and adaptation to the new order would become seamless because “our behaviour is going to change as many things would have changed.”
The NITDA DG made the call while speaking as guest speaker of a webinar with the theme “Dealing with Corona Virus: Digital First Perspective” organised by Nile University of Nigeria in conjunction with NITDA.
According to him, the outbreak of pandemic has created a new world order which is making things to be done differently.
“We need to look at what work for us and create strategies that will make us embrace it and adapt it after COVID-19.”
“We need to think Digital First in order to provide us with something to fall back on if there is second wave of this pandemic,” he added.
The only economy that works in ‘In-COVID’ era is digital economy and luckily the present administration has prepared Nigeria for the impact the virus would have on the physical economy with different governmental initiatives.
Abdullahi said; “the only economy that works is digital economy, physical economy has shut down. In November last year, the president unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria and also in March this year, the president launched Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training which aimed at building the capability of Nigerians towards achieving Digital Economy,” he added.
He argued that digital technologies offer rays of hope as there are increase in the usage of different applications that support digital technology according to the World Economic Forum WEF, adding that; “everybody is trying to connect remotely and virtually by embracing digital technologies especially zoom and Microsoft Teams platforms.”
“In Nigeria, we are using digital technology to keep businesses up and running. Technologies are being deployed by restaurants and banks; you can imagine being in this crisis without digital technology, we are going to be in total lockdown”, he said.
While recounting what NITDA has achieved during the period of lockdown, Mallam Abdullahi said the Agency has commenced Virtual Learning through NITDA academy, an online platform that can be used to learn various skills for every interested Nigerians. The Agency also organised Start Up Clinics, inaugurated Tech4Covid Advisory Committee and launched Nigeria COVID-19 Innovation Challenge, among others.
He maintained that in every situation, there is a silver lining to be explored by people, adding that COVID 19 has provided such silver lining which includes; the creation of disinfection devices, remote work, ghost kitchen and service business services.
He further advised the participants to become entrepreneurs in order to explore the silver lining provided by the COVID-19 crisis. “We need to have entrepreneurial mindset. We need to inspire others too and have passion for whatever we are doing because what we do is going to change the new world order,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Osman Nuri Aras explained that the institution is adopting digital platforms to carry on with learning and other academic activities.
“All school activities will go ahead as planned. We are trying to do our best to see that the situation we find ourselves today won’t disrupt our educational activities and we are assuring parents and students that we will continue to provide educational services during this period.”