NITDA to Boost Investment, Local Tech Entrepreneurs at GITEX


Emma Okonji

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said it will be focusing on mobilising global attention on the investment potential of Nigeria’s information technology (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.

According to the Director General/CEO of NITDA, Dr. Isa 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, said: “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.”

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 has inaugurated the GITEX 2017 Local Organising Committee (LOC) to oversee the country’s participation. The GITEX 2017 LOC has members from public sector organisations, 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.

Explaining NITDA’s participation at GITEX 2017, Pantami said: “We at NITDA are determined to explore every viable platform at exposing investment opportunities in Nigeria’s IT sector. As the IT clearing house 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.”