Tuesday, February 7, 2023

FDI: Nigeria Values, Rewards Innovation – Abdullahi

The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.
The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi.

The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has encouraged several international investors to invest in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem, as doing so comes with several rewards.

In a conversation with Ludwig von Bayern Startup Lions, Germany on the evolution of the Nigerian tech ecosystem, Abdulllahi said: “Nigeria provides opportunities for entrepreneurs to quickly and conveniently start and grow [their] businesses”.    

According to Abdullahi, the future of Nigeria is much more promising than it has ever been, due to the four rare comparative advantages the nation has over others. “So, come to Nigeria and invest such that you can easily get these comparative advantages,” he said.  

The NITDA boss listed the advantages to include Nigeria’s large population and its emerging economic status which positioned it as a suitable investment destination in Africa. “Africa is a continent with 54 countries and 1.4 billion people with 2.9 trillion GDP. Nigeria alone has 15 per cent of the population and the GDP, so investing in Nigeria is like investing in Africa. Moreover, it is emerging. If you look at the tech ecosystem, Nigeria attracts 30 per cent of the continent’s foreign direct investment (FDI). Last year alone, the country attracted more than $2 billion.”

Abdullahi further stated that the level of support the government now gives to the tech ecosystem is unparalleled in the history of the country. He said the government has been supporting innovation and start-ups. There are so many interventions in terms of policies, laws and infrastructure to help businesses grow. 

“In 2019, the president expanded the mandates of our ministry to cover the digital economy. Before, it was just the Ministry of Communications. But, upon realising that communication is not the end but a means to an end and the end is how we can use technology for economic prosperity [the name was changed].”

He recalled that the passage of the Nigerian Startup A and the Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business, as well as other incentives like visa on arrival and business incorporation within 24 hours, were all aimed at transforming the country. 

“Third, we have a youthful and talented population which you can never get anywhere in the world. While the developed countries have an ageing population, we have one of the youngest populations in the world,” he observed. 

According to him, Nigeria has a high potential for social and economic impacts and investing in the country would help its leadership solve the myriad of challenges bedevilling the nation. 

“We have so many challenges in need of innovative solutions. We have challenges around healthcare, financial inclusion, education, transportation and logistics. You all know IT or technology can provide faster solutions for us to solve all these problems.”

The NITDA boss further urged investors to look the way of Nigeria and went ahead to invite them to grace the Africa Tech Conference scheduled for July 2023.       

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