The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has described the just-concluded 2022 edition of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) as the best outing for Nigerian tech start-ups, given the visibility, participation, magnitude of benefits and number of startups that attended the event.
He said this while giving a round-up of Nigeria’s participation at the five-day event.
According to him, Nigeria was the only country with two start-ups in the final stage of the Supernova Challenge Pitch Competition.
“Nigerian Startups got a lot of investments and deals signed this year. Again, we have seen a lot of interest in Nigeria [at the pavilion], as more people interacted with our start-ups, trying to understand the Nigerian ecosystem and seeking information on how they can come to the country.
“We have seen others come in to ask for details on how they can partner with us to export Nigerian technologies to the global stage,” he added.
While responding to some questions from journalists, Abdullahi emphasised that information and communications technology (ICT) is about innovation and does not happen in isolation. He stressed that one would need to think outside the box to be part of the global ecosystem where there would be an exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise.
“GITEX said they want to start going to Africa, starting with Morocco.
“Also, they have opened conversations with us that they want to come to Nigeria to host the GITEX Africa. This is very strategic because if they want to reach core Africans, they would need Nigeria.”
Abdullahi reiterated the fact that Nigeria has the biggest ecosystem, as the country capitalises on the continental free trade agreement which allows access to the rest of Africa from Nigeria.
While recounting the gains for the Nigerian team at GITEX, Abdullahi mentioned that a $10m investment deal was signed, apart from the plans and interest’s other investors have shown in Nigerian startups.
More so, he noted that the global prize won by one of the start-ups, Shap-Shap ($8000) was a feat worthy of mention.
Other chief executive officers of parastatals under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, including the director-general of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Aziz and his counterpart from Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammed Abubakar, made their impressions known.
They narrated how beneficial their participation would impact the workings of their respective organisations and how they were able to also showcase their services and get the desired attention.
The CEOs thumbed-up the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for sustaining Nigeria’s participation at GITEX over the years and hoped that the bigger picture would not elude the country, especially as it inches towards achieving a digital Nigeria by 2030.
The start-ups who also made their impressions known were grateful to the Federal Government for supporting start-ups to thrive.
Meanwhile, the founder of Shap-Shap and winner of the mobility and logistics innovation category, Khalil Halilu, hoped the money would go a long way in improving his innovations.
He encouraged Nigerian start-ups to keep their innovative ideas alive and always give their best in every Innovation.