Digital transformation: NITDA, CISCO sign MoU on AI, agric, others

As part of efforts to advance Nigeria’s digital transformation, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Cisco System Incorporation.

Speaking during the signing of the MoU at the NITDA Headquarters, Abuja, the Director General, Kashifu Inuwa, maintained that AI and Cybersecurity go hand in hand, adding that this has made it imperative to upgrade the NCAIR to a world class AI Lab because as “we develop the AI, we also need to develop and design it with a security in mind”.

On the second initiative in the MoU, Inuwa noted that broadband is the backbone to digitisation and digital transformation, and that it provides the connectivity needed for transformation.

According to him, the establishment of the innovation hub would encourage local startups and companies to come up with affordable broadband solution in Nigeria by using cutting edge technology. 

He said, “We have a National Broadband Plan that aims to achieve 95 percent broadband coverage in Nigeria, and we need to be smart in the way we do things in order to achieve the target.”  

According to Inuwa, the initiative on smart agriculture would help to improve food production and productivity in agriculture noting that the use of Internet of Things, (IoT), Drones and other technologies would enhance productivity in agriculture. 

He said, “As part of the Presidential Redefined Priority Areas of achieving food security in the country, the President has mandated the cultivation of 500,000 acre of land in the country and to achieve this successfully and efficiently, we need to use technology.” 

The NITDA Boss expressed the willingness of the Agency to work with Cisco to establish a pilot of the Learning Centre adding that it is part of the Agency mandate to deploy IOM technology to the under-served and unserved areas. 

“Cisco is already working with International Organisation for Migration, (IOM) for a pilot project in Maiduguri, Borno state capital to deploy three Learning Centers using Cisco technology.

“So, we want to see how we can partner to also scale up that initiative, because we also have as part of our mandate to deploy this technology in under-served and unserved communities,” he said.

In his remarks, the Cisco’s Country Director, Mr. Clayton Naidoo assured that Nigeria would benefit from the MoU as it would improve agricultural production, create job opportunities, and increase the financial strength of the citizens. 

“What we want to do is we want to make sure that we leverage technology to bring the right level of economic opportunity to Nigeria that will contribute towards economic growth and job creation. So that will be the first programme

“Cisco has been unpacking the National Digital Agenda of the country and noted the Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan which are in alignment with the Cisco programmes, resources, technology and investment. And we try to implement pilot projects to ensure that we can help advance the acceleration of that digital plan,” he said.