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Covid-19: let us think digital fi rst – NITDA boss

DG during the Hack COVID-19 out of Nigeria event
DG during the Hack COVID-19 out of Nigeria event

Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) has stated that the best approach to adopt at post COVID-19 world is to think Digital First.

He said that by adopting digital first approach, 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.”

Abdullahi expressed this view 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. The DG opined that the outbreak of pandemic has created a new world order which is making things to be done differently. He said; “We need to look at what work for us and create strategies that will make us embrace it and adapt it afterCOVID-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.

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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 tokeep 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 Startup 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.

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