Nigeria’s IT clearing house, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is targeting to have the Information and Communication Technology sector contributes 20 percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product in the next two years as part of the overall plans to make Nigeria an ICT hub for West Africa and reduce country’s dependency on crude oil export.
NITDA said it will be able to achieve this feat through its strategic country-partnership with Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) where Nigeria will showcase its information technology (IT) potentials to over 4,000 investors and other high profile participants expected at the GITEX expo and conference holding in Dubai in October this year.
Nigeria is Official Country Partner to this year’s Gitex and has scheduled an ICT Investment Conference as part of the activities around its Nigerian Pavillion where it will be showcasing young innovators and other in-country start-ups that could benefit from global investors seeking to have a piece of the action in Africa’s largest economy.
Presently, ICT contributes about 9 percent to Nigeria’s GDP. While addressing newsmen at the Nigeria Computer Society annual conference in Enugu State, where the NITDA also held its first Gitex Roadshow, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, deputy director, Corporate Strategy and Research at NITDA who is also the Chairman of the Gitex Local Organising Committee said NITDA believes that with the high level delegation of government and private sector players at the Gitex show, it will help to provide stimulating discourse on the attractions in Nigeria’s burgeoning but largely unexplored ICT sector
According to Olatunji, Nigeria is exploring for investors in the area of ICT in local content, cloud computing, big data and digital strategies in the way government and its business and services should be running. Of most importance to NITDA, is how innovative Nigerians with original research work and solutions can be exposed and taught how to monetized their solutions.
He announced that the Nigerian Pavillion at Gitex is designed to accommodate 20 booths and 10 have been allocated at no fee to young innovators and startups to showcase their solutions.
Also speaking at the Enugu Gitex Roadshow, Bilal Al-Rais, commercial director, Exhibition & Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), said Nigeria as the Official Country Partner to GITEX Technology Week 2014 is positioned to tap from the vast array of exposures and investors’ gathering that the event provides. He urged Nigeria to get everybody who has something innovative to showcase at Gitex to do so, as Gitex offers a global platform to show the world what Nigerians are doing. Al Rais said Gitex would offer Nigeria the opportunity to explore international opportunities for collaborations and investments that would further advance its IT sector.
Gitex is the premier Technology event in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA). More than 35,000 visitors came from Africa in the 2013 edition of GITEX where Nigeria premiered its presence by setting up the Nigerian Pavilion which was also promoted by NITDA. About 40 other countries are also setting up pavilions at the event which records trade visitors in excess of 154, 000 last year from over 110 countries.