Being one of the key implementers of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria, coupled with an ambitious target of achieving 95% of digital literacy by 2030, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is forging more partnerships and initiating different developmental programmes and projects geared towards achieving the stated target.

To this end, the Agency has agreed to collaborate with MasterCard to train the wider ecosystem on Cyber Security and Data Protection.

Receiving the MasterCard delegation in his office, the Director General of the Agency, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, said; “to ignite digital innovation activities in the country, relevant partnerships would be necessary as the Federal Government is not relenting in its efforts of creating an enabling environment to attract local and foreign investors which would in turn trigger the exponential growth of the sector and the Nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).”

The NITDA Boss, while highlighting the Agency’s Virtual Academy; a massive open platform for online courses where Nigerians can go and learn at their own pace and also get digital certificates, informed the MasterCard delegates that in addition to exploring possible cooperation in the stated area, the Agency would like to engage with the American multinational financial service corporations towards training about one million indigenous Programmers in order to fast track the creation of some digital services Nigerians currently need.

“We know globally there is shortage of talents and Africa is the next frontier because we have the youngest population… so everybody’s looking at Africa to get the talents”.

Inuwa who expressed worry over the few number of key professionals in the field of programming which he observed has over the years impacted negatively on the Nigerian market said, there is need to grow the ecosystem and compete with other countries that are outsourcing professionals to most of the big tech companies.

“I believe we cannot succeed in isolation that’s why we won’t work in silos…we  need to work together so that we can see the impact and harness the potentials well”.

General Manager, West Africa, MasterCard, Ebehijie Momoh, who was accompanied by the Corporation’s Director, Public Policy Sun-Saharan Africa, George Owuor, intimated the DG about a planned workshop to hold in May which she said would be a good time to jump start the engagement on Cyber Security and Data Protection; training and fine-tuning the talents of Nigerians to a global level where they will not just be competing favourably with the rest of the world but will contribute in building Nigeria to an enviable status.

“This is what we would really want to sit down, have a discussion on what the curriculum would look like; what is ruling out of that curriculum would look like and how we can be of help, especially in the Financial Industry”.

On his part, Director Public Policy Sun-Saharan Africa, George Owuor, affirmed the corporation’s readiness to support NITDA in achieving it’s mandate, particularly as it relates to  the Agency’s Digital Literacy (Capacity Building) in the Seven Pillars of the Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP- 2021-2024).

He expressed optimism that the MasterCard Academy would help train the ecosystem and make available relevant certificates in related courses on Cyber Security.

According to Mr Owuor, the forthcoming workshop will be beneficial to not just Nigerian Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), but the spectrum of the digital value chain.

At the end of the concise meeting, the DG, NITDA and the representatives of MasterCard were unanimous on moving forward with the collaboration with hopes that the expected outcomes will be mutually beneficial to both parties.