By Etuka Sunday
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in pursuit of renewed thrust for leveraging the Digital Economy for National Economic Development has commenced the South West Zonal Women ICT Training and Empowerment at the Federal Polytechnic Ado-Ekiti.
The capacity building programme is aimed at closing the Gender Digital Divide, promoting job creation, financial inclusion and providing women with the necessary skills and tools to participate in the digital economy.
The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE who was represented by Dr. Vincent Olatunji, Director eGovernment Development and Regulation Department while making his remarks at the 5 day training said that, “the programme is part of the Agency’s continuous efforts aimed at implementing the administration’s key priorities of economic diversification, job creation, investing in the Nigerian people and achieving gender balance in economic opportunities. It is also part of NITDA’s strategy towards the realization of Mr President’s promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years”.
He said, “Unequivocally, women clearly have unequal access to economic opportunities in comparison to men, NITDA believed that technology can bridge the gap. The 100 women being trained are projected to create 300 direct jobs and over 1000 indirect jobs.
It may be recalled that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) has three broad objectives – restoring growth, investing in the Nigerian people, and building a globally competitive economy. It is clear from these that for any meaningful growth to take place, consideration must be given to the citizens – the nation’s priceless assets – through increased social inclusion, creating jobs and improving the human capital base of the economy, he added.
It is obvious that women have unequal access to economic opportunities compared to men, thus NITDA’s continued push for technology to bridge the gap. The program is aimed at 100 women from the South West Geo-Political Zone, creating 300 hundred direct jobs and over 1000 indirect jobs.
Key objectives of the program include boosting digital literacy, creating digital jobs, bridging the digital divide, promoting digital inclusion, and using technology to address gender imbalance in economic opportunities.
“Statistics have shown that women’s participation in ICT is less than 24% and we in NITDA are determined to bridge the gap through special training program for women in addition to the usual ICT capacity development activities of which both men and women are given equal opportunities”.
The first lady of Ekiti State, Mrs Bisi Fayemi, said the administration of Dr Kayode Fayemi had been passionate about gender promotion, particularly women empowerment and promulgation of laws that can tackle socio-cultural and economic impediments against women.
“Up to 2015, Nigeria did not meet any of the goals set for MDGs. We began the SDG in 2015 and with the speed at which we are going, Nigeria stands the risk of not achieving those things that are contained in the SDGs, if proper things are not done.
“Technology has a lot of benefit and women in the developing nations have a large proportion of illiteracy in the digital world. This programme can make women active in the world of ICT and enable equal access to innovative ICT concepts, ” she said.
The Commissioner for Public Utilities in Ekiti State, Engr Bamidele Faparusi, said the government was finalising a memorandum of understanding with private firms, for the laying of fibreoptic wireless cable across the towns and villages in the state for internet connectivity.
The Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs Hadiza Umar in a statement said the week-long programme which commenced on the 8th December, 2019, focuses on key ICT skill areas including entrepreneurship development, business management, ICT, communication and graphics design.