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NITDA Targets Increase in ICT Contribution to GDP

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is working to ensure that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector increases its 12.6 per cent contributions to the nation’s Gross Dometic Product (GDP) this year.

NITDA, through its Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), is already grooming some technology startups that would aid the country’s match towards the enthronement of a knowledge economy.

According to the Director-General, NITDA, Dr. Isa Pantami, at the weekend, in Lagos, NITDA is unleashing digital economy potential to deepen GDP contribution by making ICT play a key role in all aspects of the economy. Pantami said NITDA is organising the StartUP Nigeria programme, the sixth edition, where a number of startups pitched their ideas and IT solutions to angel investors.

The tech Startups that pitched included Acounteer, TheFarmyard, BeatDrone, Six, Nicademia, Livekampus, Comestibles Nigeria, Novael, TapPay, SwiftCheckup and Middleman.com.ng, which is an ecommerce platform connecting buyers and sellers while providing other auxiliary services.

Pantami said, “ICT is not only indispensable for developing new products and services but also for ensuring the survival of any business in the competitive world by providing ample opportunities for growth and profitability.”

According to him, the Nigerian startup ecosystem, with proper regulations and support, has capacity to become the strong catalytic force for sustainable economic growth across nations. He said that NITDA has since commenced processes for proper regulation and development, crucial for supporting the startup and entrepreneurs ecosystem in the country.

The NITDA’s interwoven roles are relevant for the country to achieve its purpose of “creative transformation of knowledge and ideas into new products, processes, or services meeting market needs, which culminates in successful enterprises,” Pantami said.

He stated that the competitiveness of any economy in the long term depends on innovation potential of the economy gained through entrepreneurship and effective technology transfer, especially now that revenue from the ‘oil and gas’ industry is on downward trend. Pantami warned that Nigeria cannot remain oil and gas-based resource based economy, as every projections show other countries are making a turn away from oil.

The NITDA DG said, “StartUPNigeria held in Lagos is a prelude to GITEX 2017, as NITDA tends to select the best startups to represent the country. This is critical in helping even the regulatory aspects of the IT sector. We identify with startups that need our technical, financial supports to push their solutions forward.

“We believe Lagos is home to innovative startups; thus, we intend to assist them improve on their works. The truth is this: our country relies solely on oil and gas sector; in UK for instance by 2040 they intend to ban diesel or petrol cars, so our reliance on oil is disturbing.

“We have to move from oil resource to knowledge-based economy. ICT has the answer to this. The contribution of 12.6 per cent of ICT to GDP is second to oil at the moment, but will soon takeover. India depends on ICT as $143 billion annual comes from ICT; Nigeria accounts for 180 million with 60 per cent young people who are addicted to ICT.”

The DG explained that the winners from StartUp Nigeria programme, being held across the country, would later represent Nigeria at this year’s Gulf Technology Exhibition (GITEX) in Dubai to pitch their innovative ideas to global investment community.

Earlier, Acting National Coordinator of OIIE, Dr. Amina Sambo Magaji, thanked the exemplary leadership of the NITDA DG and the management for giving OIIE platform to meet with startups and solve needs in the ecosystem.

She said that OIIE’s vision to drive ICT innovation and entrepreneurship through policies, initiatives, partnership and programs implementation by focusing on socio- economic impact, competitiveness, and sustainable & inclusive growth, was carefully crafted to ensure the startups are impacted positively.

She said the Office is not relenting on its focus, amongst others, on innovation and entrepreneurship by fostering a more innovative digital economy through turning new ideas and inventions into products and technologies that spur job growth and competitiveness while promoting economic development.

Culled from Guardian

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