To ensure gender equity and diversity in our digital economy and technology ecosystem, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) set to collaborate with Womenovate to promote gender diversity in technology and engineering, and eliminate gender bias.
NITDA’s Director General, Kashifu Inuwa CCIE who was represented by the Agency’s Head, SERVICOM Unit Mrs. Tarindu Ndoni, and the Special Adviser to the DG on Strategy and Innovation, Mrs. Iklima Musa expressed his optimism at the collaboration during the International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), which is an annual international awareness campaign that celebrates the achievements of women in engineering.
The DG stated that women play an important role in all facets of life, and their invaluable contributions shape the world we live in, drive progress, foster inclusivity, and inspire future generations.
“The Women in Tech and Engineering Summit is the perfect opportunity for women to come together and share their experiences which can contribute to the growth and development of female involvement and empowerment in ICT,” he opined.
The NITDA Boss disclosed that the new digital age, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, has brought about technologies that are reshaping the world around us today and integration of these technologies and the innovations derived from them have the potential to impact growth, economic well-being, and survivability of our socio-economic landscape.
Inuwa stated that with Nigeria being a hotbed for innovation, harnessing these technologies allows the nation to create wealth, create jobs, implement economic diversification, and open more opportunities to expand economic fortunes.
“It is, however, impossible to harness these technologies without distilling the necessary skills – a venture that Womenovate has also taken upon themselves,” he said.
He further explained that “The local and global tech industries are the fastest growing and most lucrative sectors of the economy. Accordingly, NITDA bears the responsibility to encourage and coordinate transformative digital innovation at a national level. The Agency has taken the necessary steps to create an enabling environment that maximises the potential of women, girls, and other underserved communities in Nigeria and promotes their ability to contribute to the economy.”
The DG mentioned that ensuring gender equity in our digital economy and tech ecosystem is not just a matter of inclusion but a prerequisite for sustainable development. He added that according to the Council on Foreign Relations, if women's participation in digital economy sectors nears parity, Nigeria stands to gain USD 229 billion in GDP growth by 2025.
“This means that a larger share of the global digital economy, which the World Economic Forum (WEF) projects to be worth US$20.8 trillion by 2025 will be fully harnessed,” he said.
He further asserted that NITDA is dedicated to creating life-transforming opportunities for women, which it is accomplishing through the implementation of the NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP), a child of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
“Our collaboration with the World Bank has aided in the provision of resources for women. Over 560 women across Nigeria have been given the resources to promote their entrepreneurial and career pursuits both locally and remotely” NITDA DG mentioned.
Inuwa said these opportunities grant women the chance to bring in unique perspectives, experiences and skills that are more likely to focus on social issues and address the needs of underserved communities.
He further noted that Gender Digital Inclusion Strategy to bridge the gender digital divide and address concerns that arise from accessibility, digital literacy, and the promotion of safe online environments is currently underway.
“It will promote digital literacy for women and girls, encourage digital entrepreneurship, and will eventually create a culture of digital use in services by women across Nigeria,” he explained.
He reiterated that “NITDA remains committed to accelerating national progress to a more digitally enabled economy, and we believe that the involvement of women plays a vital role in accelerating the development of Nigeria's tech sector and will create and inspire future technology leaders who will continue to transform the Nigerian tech ecosystem”.
He urged the participants, awardees and everyone present to be open- minded and to apply what they learned in all their ventures stating that their creativity, innovative ideas, and inventiveness are the driving factors that will open new markets, expand investment opportunities, and boost income.
Earlier, the Executive Director, Womenovate LLC, Motunrayo Opayinka while giving her welcome address expressed her delight in the cause to raise awareness and promote the value of women in technology and
engineering. She identified some expected outcomes of the program, the increased representation of women in technology and engineering leadership positions, increased employment of female STEM graduates, and a
supportive and collaborative community of female technology and engineering experts who can mentor, advise and support each other.