5G Crucial To 4th Industrial Revolution – DG NITDA
TECH DIGEST – The 5G technology is driving the world towards the 4th Industrial Revolution and it is strategic to bringing people together within a global village, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, remarked as a panelist at the Virtual Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition 2021. The panel focused on the evolution of 5G networks and Internet of things (IoT) in Africa.
Abdullahi said his agency, in its Strategic Road Map and Action Plan 2021-2024, has identified the importance of promoting and exploiting emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and IoT among others. NITDA is a critical player under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy that is committed to implementing the Nigerian Digital Economic Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
“In that policy, there is need to develop a digital Nigeria by exploiting emerging technologies,” said Abdullahi who was represented by the Ag. Director, Digital Economic Development department of the agency, Salisu Kaka.
He added: Promotion of emerging technologies will create more jobs and improve the economy of the country. There are deliberate attempts to set up mechanisms that will coordinate these emerging technologies, which will lead to the engagement of the society, especially the youth, innovators and the entrepreneurs.”
He stressed the importance of engaging this particular group of people because they are the direct beneficiaries of the enormous data generated by the IoT, 5G technologies and Big Data Analytics.
According to him, NITDA has set up the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence as well as the Office of Nigerian Digital Innovation which will both create enabling environments that will allow exploration of these technologies and ensure effective use.
Abdullahi stated further those innovations come with disruptions of normal processes, making it imperative to come up with regulations. He said that the government’s responsibility is to ensure that policy provisions are put in place to ensure inclusion of private business owners. “Private business owners don’t exploit where there is no potential, so, it is important for government to put in place interventions that will be attractive” the NITDA boss added.
NITDA developed an initiative called ‘National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA)’ with the aim of bringing emerging technologies, such as the IoT and the 5G technology into the agricultural sector.
“We piloted this initiative in 2019 and 2020 and it has given great results”, Abdullahi stated. He further disclosed that another initiative; the ‘National Adopted Schools for Smart Education (NASSE)’, was launched by the agency with the aim of incorporating these emerging technologies into the educational sector as well, and expanding the potentials of the sector.
Abdullahi said the regulatory approach adopted by the agency, which is a developmental regulation, is essential in creating a level playing field for business regulations where these emerging technologies will be effectively utilized in a way that makes government to achieve economic diversification.
His words: “In NITDA, we have refocused our process of making these policies user friendly, because it encourages participation of the private sector and the society, towards the development of these regulatory provisions for the 5G technology and other emerging technologies, which is why we refer to it as developmental regulations.”