In the wake of Coronavirus pandemic and its socio-economic impact globally, the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, on Friday disclosed that over 14,000 Nigerians have enrolled in its virtual academy.
The NITDA Director-General, Kashifu Inuwa, made the disclosure at a Virtual Conversation organised by the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, on the Socio-Economic and Political Impact of COVID19 on Telecom and ICT sector in Nigeria.
According to Mr Inuwa, the students are undergoing training on about 47 different courses cut across emerging technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and many more.
The director-general added that the academy was conceptualized by the agency last month, following the directive of Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali-Pantami, to the agency to engage young citizens to learn new technologies that will help create and shape the post-COVID era.
The DG stated that NITDA had so far organised various programmes, including COVID-19 Innovation Challenge, designed to help come up with ideas that could contain the virus and cushion its effect on the economy.
“We are working with the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and Nigerian Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) to identify some of the ideas they think are relevant for them, so they can be used as a testing ground to help these start-ups develop their ideas into products,” he said.
He added that, “the Challenge had over 2000 applicants and 5 start-ups were selected for pitching at the Open Demo and Prize Giving Day; three of them emerged winners and went home their prizes.
Mr Inuwa stressed that it is part of the Agency’s initiatives to identify youths with innovative ideas, take them to innovation hubs, incubate and accelerate their ideas into a product or services through NITDA Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support Scheme.
He said “part of the recommendation of the Tech for COVID19 covers what we do, and we are working with relevant stakeholders to identify hubs as well as start-ups that can enjoy this initiative.”
Commenting on using new technologies in farming, the DG stated that the Nigerian Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture, NAVSA, will encourage farmers to focus more on digital platforms and precision smart farming.
“To ensure significant improvement in crop yield, quality of farm produce, efficiency and productivity, increased profit margin, harvest focus, sales of farm produce, and eco-friendly agricultural practice.
“We are working with 150 farmers to start the pilot project, because the agriculture value chain contributed the highest percentage to our GDP and ICT as an enabler can help boost its projection,” he added.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the event, which was well attended by key stakeholders within and outside the shores of Nigeria, deliberated on the Coronavirus crisis on the economy and ways to cope with its impact using ICT.