By Oluwatobi Opusunju
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has commissioned an ICT Innovation Hub in Katsina State, North West Nigeria to harness indigenous tech innovation and develop tech skill sets in young people in the country’s North West Zone. The hub is part of the six hubs planned by NITDA for each of the six geopolitical zones of the country as part of capacity drive and new skills development for millions of young Nigerians.
While speaking this week at the commissioning of the hub situated inside the Katsina State Institute of Technology and Management (KSITM), the Director General of NITDA, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami said the hub will help in fostering digital innovation as well as in reducing the high spate of unemployment especially among teeming youths in order to grow the country’s economy.
According to Pantami, the hub was established in Katsina to serve the entire North West due to the commitment of the state towards ICT development and the fact that the state has a huge number of productive youths.
The NITDA’s boss said the critical drivers of the digital economy and engine room of economic growth are the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) empowered with ICT tools, which is why the agency has set out to establish ICT innovation hubs across the country. He said development of more hubs will guarantee the development of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. His words:
“Our role is to ensure Information Technology [drives] every sector of our economy, creates jobs through ICT innovations, develop techno-entrepreneurship and eventually brings about the kind of digital transformation as [found] in developed nations.
“Therefore, we must encourage and empower our pool of talented youths to take advantage of the digital era having lost the opportunity of the industrial age. Africa, with 15 per cent of the world population, cannot afford to miss the opportunities of the digital age.”
Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari expressed the state’s unflinching commitment to the growth of ICT in the state. He said the administration allocates over 20 percent of its annual budget on education and ICT and as such it is committed to the success of the hub. Masari was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Mustapha Inuwa.