Nigeria’s IT implementing agency, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Ghana’s National Information Technology Agency, NITA), have agreed to collaborate on growth of both countries’ IT sector.
The two agencies sealed the agreement recently in Accra, Ghana where they met to assess mutual areas of interest and how the two economic powerhouses of West Africa can leverage on ICT to improve their economic potentials.
At the meeting, both countries agreed to work on terms to define the nature and scope of the partnership focusing on human capital development, ICT startups and entrepreneurship schemes, local content, cyber-security, Smart City, as well as mutual support for each countries’ IT related events and public sector led-IT events designed to draw investments and developments to both countries.
According to a statement by NITDA, “in line with the activities of NITA, the Agency is also building stronger institutional bases to champion startups and ICT entrepreneurship as well as ensure achievable landmarks for Nigeria’s local content policy that will also serve as a strong basis for collaboration between the two countries.”
Dr Vincent Olatunji, Acting Director General /CEO of NITDA, stressed the need to identify common goals and strategies within the sub-region, as developing countries and approach issues relating to IT, to improve the economic fortunes of the two countries.
Olatunji said that he considers a working relationship with NITA as a partnership that should improve and inspire IT-led collaborations with other West African countries within the framework of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and also strengthen the value of IT within Nigeria’s public and private organisations.
According to him, NITDA has invested massively in human capital development to build an army of IT savvies, and in addition to that, is expanding the boundaries of Internet usage across countries. NITDA has provided the framework to bolster the use of the .ng domain names in Nigeria as well, he added.
Mr. George Atta-Boatang, CEO of NITA, welcomed the partnership with Nigeria, and acknowledged that it is crucial to actualising NITA’s mandate as a counterpart IT agency in Ghana. Thus, he considered the partnership as an essential element of growth and looked forward to its prospects.
According to Boatang, “NITA was established in 2008 as an IT project-based public service institution which has championed Internet diffusion in Ghana and has provided the framework for data warehousing for both public and private institutions in Ghana.”
The NITA boss further disclosed that NITA is currently working towards commissioning the 10, 000 seat Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)/Outsourcing centre in Accra, which will be the largest in West Africa as Ghana prepares to be a major hub for BPO/Outsourcing in West Africa.
He said that the agency is relatively young compared to NITDA and has drawn some inspiring input from NITDA in marshaling its own current structure as a policy driven IT agency from its original orientation as a project driven one.
Dr. Sola Afolabi, former acting Deputy Executive Secretary of the ECOWAS, who chaired the meeting, urged the two countries to accelerate the processes for collaboration at both bilateral, country-to-country level as well as regional level within the larger ECOWAS window.