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Tech skills may yield $40bn for Nigeria

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By Usman Oladimeji

NITDA stressed the benefit of tapping into the technology sector.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) said during a virtual panel discussion at the 16th ǼLEX Annual Lecture that Nigeria, with its large population, had abundant tech-centric resourceful human skills. The government agency recognizes that the nation stands to gain over $40 billion annually by tapping into the technology sector, given the availability of such a large pool of tech-centric capabilities. It was revealed by NITDA’s director general, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, who claims that Nigeria can supply 2 million of the 4 million vacant programmer openings all across the globe.

According to him, the yearly compensation of a software developer or programmer might range anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000, as shown by a survey conducted by PwC. He also said that PwC has confirmed that Nigeria is capable of producing more than $40 billion annually if it could engage two million developers to work remotely at an average wage of $20,000 per year. This sizeable sum is estimated to be enough to alleviate the country’s forex exchange predicament.

Government should enact a legislative framework to help the underserved.

Even more so, Abdullahi argues, the digital economy is all about innovation and the technical expertise to fully realize its potential. Nigeria is thought to possess an ample supply of it, which would provide the country with a competitive edge in global markets. He explains that Nigeria may have a significant effect on the global digital economy despite the country’s low global ranking if the government works together to adopt legislation like the startup bill that was passed into law in a recent development

Consequently, he called for more collaboration between startups, Venture capital, entrepreneurs, and other significant players in the digital ecosystem with the goals of fostering more innovative ideas and increasing investment. Abdullahi made a similar plea to the government, urging them to create conditions that would allow the technological ecosystem to flourish. He argued that the government should make an effort to help underserved communities and neighborhoods by enacting a legislative framework, implementing rules and regulations, and building infrastructure.

The sector’s global expertise deficit is expected to reach $8.5 trillion.

Abdullahi also draws attention to a recent analysis by Korn Ferry that predicted a global expertise deficit of 85 million in the sector. According to his numbers, nations like Brazil and Japan, which will have about 18 million each, would be hit most by this scarcity. According to the NITDA director general, Nigeria can take advantage of the global deficit, which is expected to reach $8.5 trillion, by making the most of an abundant supply of human potential and a youthful population.

In light of this, it is crucial for Nigeria to make the most of its potential impacts to be competitive in the global market. Abdullahi spoke highly of NITDA’s contribution to the tech sector, citing the agency’s ongoing one million developers project, which aims to enable one million Nigerians to connect to the global value chain, as an example of its success. He cited the importance of AI, blockchain, robots, and data analytics to the future of the digital economy as the impetus for the inception of this training program.

It is crucial to establish institutions that generate human capital.

He concluded by saying that NITDA is drafting the National Digital Economy Bill to provide a constitutional basis for developing the digital economy. He also emphasized the need to establish a centralized agency to oversee the growth of human capital and coordinate technological advancements within the digital economy. Abdullahi said that it is crucial to establish institutions that generate human capital through digital literacy and capacity building and to examine legislative frameworks that enable digital transformation regularly.

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