Emma Okonji in Busan, South Korea
The Nigerian delegation to this year’s ITU Telecom World, the biggest telecommunication conference and exhibition across the globe, has engaged foreign investors at various fora to attract foreign investments into the telecoms sector.
The engagement commenced with the official opening of the Nigeria Pavilion, where Nigeria showcased her innovations and products.
The event, which is holding in Busan, South Korea, also provided the opportunity to engage with small and medium enterprises (SMEs), corporates as well as top government officials.
The Nigerian delegation also engaged foreign investors at the Nigerian Investment Forum, where the country’s potential were made known to foreign investors so as to encourage them to invest in Nigeria’s broadband plan and other areas of interests.
The Nigeria Pavilion, which became a beehive of activities, showcased six SME startups and corporate sponsors who thrilled participants and investors with their unique products and services. They were later selected to join other 21 SME startups, making a total of 26 startups selected from 12 countries of the world to contest for the final pitch at the event.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof, Umar Danbatta, said the Nigerian delegation, led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, Abdulkadir Mashi, attended the ITU Telecom World 2017 to sell Nigeria’s potential that will in turn attract more foreign investments into the country.
“We come to ITU Telecom World every year to tell our story, share our experiences and borrow a leaf from global best practices to address our concerns. This year, we came to enlist the support of other players, governments, regulators and the global community from whom there is always a basket of ideas to take back home to Nigeria. The implementation of these ideas will ensure a better regulatory environment,” Danbatta said.
During the Nigeria Investment Forum, the Secretary General, International Telecoms Union (ITU), Mr. Houlin Zhao, commended Nigeria’s mission, commitment and participation at global events to woo foreign investors, and called on foreign investors to see Nigeria as a good destination for investment.
“Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have become indispensable. In our digital era, ICTs drive the world’s economy and the transformation of our societies. Investing in ICTs, especially in newer technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), will go a long way to speed up technology developments in developing countries,” Zhao said.
The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Mrs. Yewande Sadiku, who presented the keynote address at the Nigeria Investment Forum, said: “Nigeria has all it takes to drive economic growth across Africa, despite the recent rating on the ease of doing business, which placed Nigeria at 169, out of 189 countries studied.”
She said Nigeria was able to achieve reforms in various sectors of the Nigerian economy such as the issuance of Visa on arrival to foreigners to make a quick and short journey to the country, faster period of registration of businesses with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and the executive order of doing business in a more transparent form. “ICT is the key to achieving the executive order on ease of doing business, and Nigeria must continue to invest in ICT and attract investments from foreign partners,” Sadiku said.
The Chairperson, Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), and a former Nigeria Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, who sat at a panel session during the Nigeria Investment Forum in South Korea, said Nigeria must continue to attract foreign investment, if the country must achieve an all inclusive government, since the country is still battling with poor infrastructure in the area of broadband deployment.