To achieve the target of training 1 million software developers in 18 months through collaborations with relevant stakeholders, Kashifu Inuwa, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has asked Google Developers Group (GDG) to come up with a Learn, Teach and Earn strategy to have a robust software ecosystem in the country.
The DG made this known while receiving the group led by Bulama Yusuf, who were on a courtesy visit to the Agency’s Corporate Headquarters in Abuja to seek possible areas of collaboration in software development; invite the DG as a keynote speaker to its forthcoming DevFest Abuja 2022 event, and the Agency’s support.
Inuwa said “we should train the trainers in each state then and establish a group like this that will be training people and we pay them”, as he explained that the initiative will help reach out to remote areas as well.
He noted that as part of implementing the Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) “we don’t want to buy off-the-shelf solutions. We want our people to build in-country digital services.”
The DG while noting that NITDA believes that talent is the human component of technology, he emphasized that “we are going to be as good as the people we have developing the solution, which is why we are coming up with a department that will drive all our initiatives on talent and capacity building”.
The NITDA boss said “we have an adoption strategy for Blockchain which can be expanded and have a strategy for software developers as well,” adding that the strategy is centred around six initiatives;
“Firstly, to establish a consortium, something that can unleash the energy within the society so that people get together and see how they can achieve goals”;
“Secondly, to come up with regulation and law that will protect the ecosystem, like the start-up bill that recently passed the third reading at the Senate, we are working on other rules and regulations that will create a better digital space where fundamental rights of users are protected and create an enabling environment for business to thrive”;
“Thirdly, create more awareness, and build capacity. That is why we have an ambitious target of 95% digital literacy and to train 1 million developers”;
“Fourthly, it is about having a focus area, what I mean by focus area is as we train developers we need to create jobs for them; we want to achieve a paperless government by 2030, we want to digitize all government services; this is not something we can achieve by buying off-the shelf-solutions, we need people that understand our processes to develop our systems”;
“We are trying to set up a process where you can come and showcase your idea and then work with the government Agency to come up with a proof of concept then they will pay you at the end; if it works somewhere you can sell it elsewhere and create a market for yourself”;
“The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has given NITDA the approval to work with the BPP to come up with a bi-modal process to make procurement for start-ups easier”;
“The fifth is to incentivize the whole ecosystem which FEC has approved and the start-up bill will strengthen that as well”;
“Lastly we are working on establishing a sound box where you can experiment, develop your prototype and proof of concept, and so on”
“We are developing strategies on how to train 1 million developers and we are working with different stakeholders to see how we can achieve that; so I see you as a potential stakeholder we can work with to achieve this”.
Mr. Yusuf of the GDG speaking earlier during a presentation expressed the group’s commitment and desire to work with the Agency while inviting the DG to an event as a keynote speaker and sought the Agency’s support for the success of the event.