The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) under the stewardship of the Director General, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE, has announced its commitment to strengthen collaboration with the Microsoft Nigeria in ensuring the implementation of the Cloud First Strategy in government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

Abdullahi disclosed this when he received the team of Microsoft Nigeria led by the new Country Manager, Mrs Ola Williams at the Agency’s Corporate Headquarters, Abuja.

The purpose of the visit was to introduce the newly appointed Microsoft boss and to further strengthen the already existing collaboration between the two organizations.

The DG of NITDA stated that the agency had recalibrated its activities to align with the new Government aspirations and have therefore crafted new strategies.

“We are committed to aligning with these new government goals by transforming our agency and to achieve this, we need an organization like yours to do that”, he said.

Abdullahi stated that the Developmental regulation is one of the strategic pillars of the Agency’s Strategic Road Map and Action Plan (SRAP) 2021-2024 which will encourage innovations and help service providers as well as end consumers.

He said, “Microsoft has been of great assistance in this regard by supporting development of the Cloud Computing Policy.

Abdullahi further stated that the Agency is pushing for Cloud First Strategy in the government and needs further collaboration from Microsoft with the aim of learning the best practices and domesticate them in the country. “We have collaborated on the Nigerian Data Protection Regulations but we need to collaborate more in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy”, Abdullahi averred.

The NITDA boss said the Agency has been intensifying efforts on Digital Literacy which is another strategic pillar of its action plan in order to help youths upscale their digital literacy skills and retain their jobs in the trending pandemic era. He further disclosed that the Agency has trained over 2,400 youths and are currently targeting on training 7,200 people from 11 states basically on Microsoft productivity tools, digital content creation and digital marketing.

Abdullahi mentioned that Digital Transformation, Cyber Security, Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship are strategic pillars in which the Agency has collaborated with Microsoft in using technology to enhance traditional processes, help government get insights into the dark web and encourage local startups respectively.

“Small and Medium Scale Enterprises contribute up to 90% of the workforce and it is very important to use technology to create fancy employment for our youths. We have so many initiatives with respect to this and I think you can be a key player”, the DG added.

He added that the Agency would need the collaboration of Microsoft in the areas of its Public Key Infrastructure solution to boost cloud first strategies in government institutions and initiate a collaborative process on the acquisition of Microsoft Digital Certificates.

The NITDA DG earlier congratulated the newly appointed Microsoft Boss for being the first female and homegrown boss of Microsoft, adding that NITDA and Microsoft have come a long way and must continue to trail that same direction in order to achieve their goals and objectives.

“With the emergence of a new country manager, we should look at areas we can work together for the betterment of our country Nigeria”, Abdullahi noted.

In her remark, Mrs Ola Williams thanked NITDA for its support and partnership over the years, while expressing her utmost appreciation to the Director General for the privilege given to them to contribute their quota to the development of Cloud Policy in Nigeria.

“Our visit here is as a result of your demonstration of contributions and impact to our organization and to solicit for more support and partnership to create a digital Nigeria”, she concluded.

Cloud First Strategies which are operational strategies in which infrastructures are being moved to cloud computing platforms like the Amazon web services, Google cloud or Microsoft Azure rather than using physical clusters have been identified to have outstanding benefits in terms of auto-scaling, easy configurability in getting new services online and reliability amongst other benefits.