The drive to attract more investments into Nigeria’s burgeoning Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is currently being boosted at the ongoing Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) 2018 in Dubai, UAE. Spearheading this new effort is the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, which leads Nigeria’s contingent to the global technology show.
Speaking at the opening of Nigeria’s Pavilion today, October 14, which is the first day of the week-long event, NTDA’s DG, Dr Isa Pantami, said Nigeria would be speaking to a number of global investors on the potentials in Nigeria and why they need to come and invest. Nigeria’s investment forum is scheduled to come up on Wednesday, October 17th, where NITDA would be pitching to thousands of potential investors from across the world.
According to the DG, some discussions were started last years with investors from various countries of the world and would be concluded this year while fresh discussions would be opened with many other investors that are interested in investing in Nigeria.
On why Nigeria needs foreign investors, Pantami noted that a country cannot develop its ICTs alone, adding that the developed countries also wooed foreign investors to grow their ICTs.
“ICT is something that cannot be developed in silos, each and every country must interact with other nations, particularly, the developed ones and see how you can come up with policies and strategies to implement IT like government digital services and the rest,” he said.
“During GITEX, we look for potential investors, those that are willing to come and invest in Nigeria, which is very important because most of the developed nations in ICT today, developed through foreign investors who invested in their countries, like here in UAE, it is the same, in the US, it is the same. So, it is very important to look for potential investors and ask them to come to Nigeria and invest. And you can only convince them to invest in Nigeria by showing the potentials you have there” the DG said.
Highlighting some of the key potentials that would be pitched to the investors, said Nigeria is a country with estimated 190 million population and the country is strategically positioned as the gateway of west Africa.
“At the same time, we are in-between west Africa and Central Africa. In the remaining West African countries, you have around 200 million while Nigeria alone has 190 million. And in Central Africa, you have around 150 million. So, if you are in Nigeria, you are in-between West Africa and Central Africa and we have advantage of our digital native. Our population has been dominated by youths and youths are naturally inclined to ICT and this is the situation in Nigeria” he said.
The DG added that Nigeria now has policies and laws that make investments much easier, citing for instance, the ease of doing business policy, which enables registration of a company within 24 hours and the availability of visa on arrival for potential investors. He added that the government is also giving tax holiday for investors in the ICT sector.
NITDA is also showcasing Nigerian start-ups with potentials for attracting foreign investors that would help them grow. Recall that NITDA had selected six start-ups from the six geo-political zones of the country. The start-ups currently participating at the future innovators contest in Dubai include Arone(SE) -A technology, transport and logistics company to solve the problem of lack of accessibility to medical supplies; Beepower (NE) – The product allows the use of one single source to power up multiple devices with different power requirements; and Domenium (SS)- A solution designed to help police obtain evidence for crimes;
Others are Max (SW) – A technology, transport and logistics company that makes moto-taxis safe, efficient, and accessible to users in West Africa; Off-k.com(NW) –An online platform that helps students conveniently locate and securely pay for accommodation off campus; and Wattlinq (NC) – A power technology with a website which provides services that monitors and manages energy availability and usage in homes.
Picture caption: L-R: Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Dr. Isa Pantani, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Professor Sahalu Junaid, Head of Department, Computer Science Department, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Dr. Vincent Adetunji, Director, e-Government and Regulation, NITDA at the official opening of Nigerian Pavilion at the GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, UAE today.