The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria’s IT clearinghouse and the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), Ghana’s agency responsible for implementing IT policies have agreed to collaborate on common grounds as it affects both countries’ IT sector.
The two agencies met in Accra, Ghana to assess mutual areas of interest and how the two economic powerhouses in West Africa can leverage on ICT to improve the economic potentials of these countries.
Both countries agreed to work on terms to define the nature and scope of the partnership focusing on human capital development, ICT startups and entrepreneurship schemes, local content, cybersecurity and smart city. The areas of cooperation will also cover mutual support for each countries’ IT related events and public sector led IT events designed to draw investments and developments to both countries.
The acting Director General /CEO of NITDA, Dr Vincent Olatunji stated that, there is need as developing countries to identify common goals and strategies within the sub-region and approach issues relating to IT, to improve the economic fortunes of Ghana and Nigeria.
In response, the CEO of NITA, Mr. George Atta-Boatang welcomed the partnership with Nigeria, and acknowledged that it is crucial to actualising NITA’s mandate as a counterpart IT agency in Ghana. Thus, he considered the partnership as an essential element of growth and looked forward to its prospects.
Furthermore, according to Atta-Boatang, NITA was established in 2008 as an IT project-based public service institution which has championed internet diffusion in Ghana and has provided the framework for data warehousing for both public and private institutions in Ghana. NITA is currently working towards commissioning the 10, 000 seat Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)/Outsourcing centre in Accra, which will be the largest in West Africa as Ghana prepares to be a major hub for BPO/Outsourcing in West Africa.
In addition, Atta-Boateng stated that NITA is relatively young compared to NITDA and has had to draw on some inspiring input from NITDA in marshalling its own current structure as a policy driven IT agency from its original orientation as a project driven one.
In response, Ag. Director General NITDA said he considers a working relationship with NITA as a partnership that should improve and inspire IT-led collaborations with other West African countries within the framework of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and also strengthen the value of IT within Nigeria’s public and private organisations. NITDA has invested massively in human capital development to build an army of IT savvies. In addition to expanding the boundaries of internet usage across countries, NITDA has provided the framework to bolster the use of the .ng domain names in Nigeria.
In line with the activities of NITA, NITDA is also building stronger institutional bases to champion startups and ICT entrepreneurship as well as ensure achievable landmarks for Nigeria’s local content policy that will also serve as a strong basis for collaboration between the two countries
The meeting was chaired by Dr. Sola Afolabi, former acting Deputy Executive Secretary of the ECOWAS, who urged the two countries to accelerate the processes for collaboration at both bilateral, country-to-country level as well as regional level within the larger ECOWAS window.