By Emma Okonji
The Nigerian Pavilion at Gitex 2016 will be exposing opportunities in non-oil sectors and how the Nigerian government is committed to supporting foreign and local entrepreneurship, particularly in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, according to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the government agency responsible for the implementation of ICT policy for Nigeria.
The Head of Corporate Affairs at NITDA, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, who equally heads the sub-committee on Managing and Promoting the Nigerian Pavilion at Gitex 2016, made the disclosure at the weekend.
The acting Director General of NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, said NITDA would foster its 2016 Gitex presence on “the promotion of ICT startups as the country aggressively pursues foreign earnings in non-oil sectors.” While speaking in Lagos over the weekend, Umar said Nigeria would not be in the global technology event for a jamboree.
According to her, “There are clear objectives for joining over 130 countries to be part of Gitex to showcase our budding ICT industry and provide a platform for foreign prospects to see the boundless opportunities in our non-oil sectors.”
“Last year there were over 150, 000 trade visitors to the Gitex Technology Week, the Nigerian Pavilion attracted well over 4000 visitors and hundreds of enquiries; we had official visitation from public and private sectors from Bahrain, Serbia, Egypt, Malaysia and the UAE among others. Of course, there were numerous enquiries and set-up meetings from several offshore companies seeking to see how they do business in Nigeria and how to could explore partnerships with existing companies in Nigeria,” she added.
While encouraging Nigerian companies to leverage on the opportunities provided by the country’s pavilion, she said the Nigerian Pavilion, last year, boasted of heavy public sector and private sector exhibitors. They include the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), the Nigerian Communication Commission, NigComSat, PFS, Sidmach, Sasware, and a number of startups championed by the NITDA.
This year, we are consolidating on that. We are using the Pavilion to leverage on government’s new economic thrust to aggressively seek investment and build non-oil sectors, Umar said.
According to her, Gitex has grown to become the top ICT meeting point in Middle East, Asia and Africa. More than 120 countries including those of Europe and the Americas are represented through country-pavilions and series of trade delegations in this technology expo. Since 2013, the NITDA has used the Gitex to attract world’s attention to Nigeria’s budding IT industry.
“Our participation in Gitex over the years has really benefitted the country in many ways. It has attracted investments to the country; and two of our startups that showcased their innovation at last year’s event have been engaged by a Malaysia company. We are getting attention from Asia firms wanting to collaborations in our local sector” said Olatunji.
Startups in Nigeria have a chance to participate in the Gitex 2016 STARTUP MOVEMENT and pitch for the one million dollar prize at the technology trade show billed to hold in Dubai in November this year.
NITDA will be sponsoring 15 to 17 startups to the global startups event that will be attracting over 400 startups in addition to the over 150, 000 trade visitors from more than 150 countries expected to attend the 5-day event.