By OLUWATOBI OPUSUNJU/Lagos
Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are to co-manage the inaugural Africa Investment Forum (AIF) holding as part of the major highlights of Gitex Technology Week 2016, holding 18thOctober in Dubai. The five-day technology show is also featuring the first Gitex Startup Movement to make this year’s event a bumper for investors looking at Africa and also the global ecosystem for startups.
Nigeria is being represented by the country’s IT clearinghouse, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) while the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), organisers of Gitex is standing in for the government of the UAE. The move would further thicken the two countries growing business engagements. Nigeria was Country Partner for Gitex in 2014 and since then has featured in at the Gitex as a major country exhibitor.
Africa’s largest economy, struggling with falling oil prices, plans to use the AIF to garner global interest in non-oil sectors, particularly ICT, where Africa has recorded steady promising growth in the last decade.
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. Speakers across different verticals will be speaking on ICT diffusion across different sectors that include education, cybersecurity, startups, retail, energy, healthcare, and finance.
More than 20 African countries are expected to participate and provide groundwork for driving further investments in the ICT sector of the participating countries.
“It is with great pleasure, we announce co-managing ‘Africa Investment Forum’ on 17th October 2016 in Dubai, UAE. The Africa Investment Forum will be strategically located in Dubai World Trade Centre during the second day of GITEX Technology Week.
“The ICT sector is no longer marginal in Nigeria and many African countries. Investment in ICT has in the last decade become profound in both social and economic terms. In the context of the ‘information economy,’ Africa has gained significantly as ICT virtually drives a huge portion of national economies.
“The Africa Investment Forum will be bringing together major economic and technology influencers from across the continent; business leaders and political decision makers to help put in achievable context, what’s next for the continent in terms of more investments for ICT sector. In Nigeria, this sector is already deemed the most viable non-oil sector and the Nigerian government is further energizing this sector to bring more benefits,” said acting Director- General of the NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olatunji.
GITEX Technology Week is the fastest growing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) show in the world and the largest, most specialized digital event across Middle East, Africa, and South-East Asia. GITEX Tech Week this year will focus even more attention on entrepreneurship and immersive tech theme of ‘Reimagining Realities’ which will be featuring GITEX Startup programme – the most global startup movement with startups from over 35 countries.
The NITDA is facilitating Nigeria’s participation at the GITEX Startup Movement. About 16 startups from the country will join over 400 startups and more than 1,000 entrepreneurs, investors and mentors from the global startup ecosystem.
Touted as the “exclusive set-up that will highlight the most innovative startups around the world and provide them a platform to sell, form partnerships and attract investors, the GITEX Startup Movement will allow participants to pitch for prizes, attend an interactive conference to address challenges faced by entrepreneurs and meet leading industry figures.