The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) will be focusing on mobilising global attention on the investment potential of Nigeria’s IT sector and promotion of local tech-entrepreneurs at this year’s Gitex 2017. This year’s Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX), the premier technology event in the Middle East, Asia and Africa is expected to host over 185, 000 visitors from more than 140 countries. This year’s GITEX, the 39th edition, holds October 8-12 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
Nigeria’s participation at GITEX through the NITDA is fostered around three activities: The Nigerian Pavilion, the Startup Innovation Hub, and the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) being put together jointly by the Nigerian government through the NITDA and the UAE government through the DWTC, organisers of GITEX. The AIF is focusing on Africa’s rapidly and positively changing investment climate particularly in the ICT sector; the forum pays special attention on Nigeria’s investment potential as the continent’s largest economy and market for ICT. The AIF targets to host participants from Asia, Europe, the Americas and the rest of Africa.
“Winning over investors is a continuous exercise. Investors need to be continuously updated on the progress made by the country to welcome investors and ensure high returns on their investment and to understand why Nigeria remains a top destination on the continent for investment,”said Director General/CEO of NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami who had earlier led a NITDA’s team to the DWTC to finalise Nigeria’s participation and ensure the country gets value from her involvement in GITEX 2017.
The Africa Investment Forum will focus on technology investments and how the continent could leverage on increasing value to GDP of ICT in most developing economies. More than 20 African countries are expected to participate and provide groundwork for driving further investments in the ICT sector of the participating countries.
As part of the preparations, the NITDA had inaugurated the Gitex 2017 Local Organizing Committee (LOC) to oversee the country’s participation. The GITEX 2017 LOC has members from public sector organizations, private institutions and the media. The agency had also met with Nigeria’s foreign mission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through its Consulate in Dubai to work together and ensure a rewarding outcome for Nigeria at this year’s Gitex. Both the Nigerian Pavilion and Nigerian Startups cobs inside the Innovation Hub will be showcasing Nigerian private and public business concerns, as well as some of its technology startups to join in the global pitch for investors, venture capitalists and accelerators.
Earlier in the year during his visit to seek the support of the Consulate in Dubai, Dr Pantami had explained why NITDA was participating at GITEX 2017. He said: “We at NITDA are determined to explore every viable platform at exposing investment opportunities in Nigeria’s IT sector. As the IT clearinghouse for government and as a regulatory agency, we are working within our mandate to expose our indigenous IT companies to global opportunities; to seek for collaborations at government to government levels; to encourage synergy building between our startups and prospective investors or strategic partners. “Our participation in Gitex is to promote non-oil sectors, a cardinal economic goal of the President Muhammadu Buhari. Dubai is an international hub for business engagements. We are counting on the support of the Consulate General to mobilise effectively so that we would achieve great results here.”
In response, the Nigerian Consul General, Dubai, UAE, Ambassador Abu Mohammed had assured that the foreign mission in UAE would mobilize the business community and offshore business ventures interested in Nigeria to come leverage on Nigeria’s presence at GITEX to have direct interaction with the country’s officials over business opportunities in Nigeria.
“I’m glad you are here in pursuit of our common interest at promoting Nigeria in all spheres. We are here to work with you and ensure we all succeed in this common goal. Your presence is affirming our position here that government is not far away from every Nigerian and that Nigeria is ready for business. This meeting also serves to encourage both foreigners seeking to do business in Nigeria and Nigerians here in Dubai to do more for their country and to assure them that the mission’s doors are open to assist them in meeting these goals,” said Ambassador Abu Mohammed.
GITEX is one of the world’s premier technology shows. The 38th edition of GITEX, which held last year, recorded more than 180,000 trade visitors from over 140 countries and more than 3,700 exhibitors from 61 countries. Nigeria was Official Country Partner for GITEX 2014, and leveraged on the event to showcase its green ICT market as one of largest destination for technology investment in the last decade. With more than 190 million in population, the continent’s largest, the Nigerian Pavilion at GITEX 2017 is being promoted on the high return on investment (RoI) for offshore investors in the country’s rapidly growing technology landscape.