The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that if women participate more in the Nigerian digital space, it could increase the country’s gross domestic product by over 50 per cent. Mallam Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General of NITDA, stated this on Friday at the closing ceremony of its ‘Fasaha Gina Mata, Gina Al-Umma’, digital skills programme in Abuja.
Fasaha Gina Mata Gina Al-Umma is a digital skills training programme organised by NITDA in partnership with World Bank and Natview Technology to equip young women with the relevant skills they need to succeed in the digital world. The four-day programme was held as part of the activities from the agency to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023.
Inuwa during his presentation, made reference to research by Mckinsey Global Institute which stated that placing women together with their male counterparts would increase the global GDP to about 18 trillion USD in 2025. Inuwa said that based on the submissions of the report if Nigeria can achieve gender equality, no less than 299 billion could be added to the GDP by 2025.
Speaking further, he said “Within our own mandate, implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, we are working on so many initiatives.” The director-general added that they were initiating programmes that were women based to encourage more female participation and digital literacy among women. He decried that from November 2022 to-date, the agency had trained 226,000 young Nigerians on various digital skills but women represented only 28 percent of the figure.
The NITDA boss said that the idea was to achieve 95 per cent digital literacy by 2030 which was kick-started with the Gina Mata programme to train 800 young women in the pilot programme.
Inuwa further said the training would accord the participants access to education, job opportunities, access to information, enable them to learn to protect their data against threats and promote gender equality.
During his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Natview Technology, Nuradeen Maidoki, the implementing partner, said Fasaha Gina Mata, Gina Al-umma was translated as ‘Building Women, Empowering Communities.’ Maidoki said they plan to create a chain of highly skilled female technologists who could contribute to innovation and growth in Nigeria’s technology industry. “We believe that by empowering young women with digital skills, we can create a more inclusive and diverse technology industry that reflects the richness and diversity of our society,’’ he said.
Maidoki added that the additional 600 young women would be trained from Borno, Gombe, Kano and Zamfara. He said that they were working with SheCluded, a digital financial company for women that would be ensuring mentorship, and helping the women access loans and grants where needed.