The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Dr. Isa Pantami, has declared that the future of the nation’s technology will be determined by its start-ups.
Pantami spoke at the just concluded GITEX Africa Investment Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, according to a statement made available by the Head of Corporate Affairs, NITDA, Hadiza Umar, he advised the country’s young innovators to deepen the value of their technology solutions to meet both local and global needs.
Pantami, while encouraging the international community to consider Nigeria first on their list of investment destinations in Africa, stressed that the recent visit to Nigeria of the Chief Executive Officer of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, underscored the high potential for the ICT investment in Nigeria.
He said, “You may recall that the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was in Nigeria two months ago to attend the Aso Villa Demo Day, an initiative by the Presidency to identify and promote 30 start-ups with the brightest home-grown innovative solutions.
“Zuckerberg admitted that he was ‘blown away’ by the talents of young Nigerians. Many of his social media comments after the event have reflected this. We invite you, our potential investors, to take advantage of these massive talents as you invest in Nigeria.”
The forum was part of Nigeria’s participation at the five-day Gulf Information Technology Exhibition 2016, which featured global ICT stakeholders that also had major policy drivers from Nigeria. More than 200 people were in attendance at the investment networking forum that attracted participants from over 40 countries.
They included the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu; the Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Prof. Sonni Tyoden; the Head of the Civil Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita; and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, Mr. Sunday Echono.
The forum featured testimonials about investment in Nigeria from some major indigenous technology investors including Mr. Collins Onuegbu, founder of Sasware Limited, a tech investment company based in Lagos; Mr. Yele Okeremi, founder of Precise Financial Systems involved in the development software for use in the financial sector; Mr. Chijioke Eke, the Chairman and Co-founder of Sidmach Technologies Nigeria Limited, an aggregator funding start-ups; and Mr. Deremi Atanda, the Executive Director at SystemSpecs Limited, providers of the Remita payment solutions.
Atanda said, “Systemspecs has proved that despite the challenges, Nigeria remains an investors’ delight. There are difficulties, probably more for indigenous investors. But the benefits are overwhelming even as we have reasons to believe that government is increasingly becoming aware of the need to create a more investment-friendly environment.”