By Chinenye Anuforo

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has partnered with the World Bank and World Trade Organisation to bolster digital trade and cross-border data services within Nigeria.

NITDA, under the leadership of Director-General Kashifu Inuwa, is undertaking a review of its existing regulations. The aim is to establish a more conducive environment for the digital economy to flourish. Key areas of focus include the development of a comprehensive digital economy bill and a broader blockchain policy. The digital economy bill is expected to encompass the electronic signature framework alongside other critical regulatory instruments. The blockchain policy will delve into security measures and the implementation of smart contracts.

NITDA is actively working towards establishing a National Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to facilitate secure electronic transactions. This PKI will serve as the foundation for the nation’s electronic signature framework. Additionally, a data exchange platform is being developed to streamline and improve messaging systems within Nigeria’s borders. The Nigerian Data Strategy, also being formulated, aims to strike a balance between data protection and the viability of open data for innovation and informed decision-making.

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NITDA recognizes the importance of digitalizing Nigeria’s single window and customs procedures. The agency is actively participating in the development of cross-border digital trade protocols, enhancing the nation’s role in the global digital economy. Inuwa emphasized the potential benefits of adopting a holistic approach, citing the European Union’s recent Cyber Resilience Act as an example. Such an act, encompassing software, hardware testing, and national cybersecurity architecture, could be a valuable model for Nigeria.

NITDA expressed its openness to collaboration with individuals, organizations, and experts to refine and implement these strategic initiatives. This collaborative effort aims to optimize Nigeria’s digital landscape and unlock its full potential.

The World Bank echoed its commitment to supporting NITDA’s endeavors. Mr. Aleksandar Stojanov, representing the World Bank, shared initial findings from a digital trade regulatory gap analysis conducted in Nigeria. This collaboration between NITDA, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organisation signifies a collective effort to propel Nigeria’s digital trade and foster economic growth.

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