The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa has described this year’s edition of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) as the best outing for the country, saying the Nigerian startups signed many deals at the event.
Inuwa disclosed this on Saturday, in a statement by the agency’s Spokesperson, Hajia Hadiza Umar.
The DG said Nigeria was the only country that had two start-ups that scaled through to 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, in the sense that we see a lot of people throng the pavilion, interacting 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 details on how they can partner with us to export Nigeria’s technologies to the global stage”, Inuwa added.
While responding to some questions from journalists, the Director-General emphasized that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) was about innovation and it doesn’t happen in isolation, stressing that one would need to come out of the box to be part of the global ecosystem where there would be exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise.
“GITEX said they want to start going to Africa, and that they would want to start with Morocco.
“They have also opened conversations with us that they want to also come to Nigeria for the hosting of GITEX Africa, and this is very strategic because if they want to reach core Africans, they would need Nigeria”, the DG maintained.
He reiterated the fact that Nigeria had the biggest ecosystem as the country capitalizes on the continental free trade agreement which allows access to the rest of Africa from Nigeria.
While recounting the gains of the Nigerian team at GITEX, the NITDA Boss mentioned that about $10m investment deal was signed, apart from the plans and interests other investors had shown in Nigerian Startups.
Moreso, he noted that the global prize won by one of the start-ups named “Shap-Shap” in which he got a whooping sum of $8000 was another 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 organizations and how they were able to also showcase their services and got the desired attention.
The CEOs unanimously gave a thumbs up to 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 always supporting Start-ups to thrive.
Meanwhile, the founder of Shap-Shap and winner of the Mobility and Logistics Innovation category, Khalil Halilu was hopeful that 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.