The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has commenced engagements with international bodies to ensure they can build a formidable startup ecosystem through resources harnessed from global tech giants to sustain the country’s digital economy.
In achieving the mandate of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration towards rejuvenating the country’s tech startup ecosystem with a million tech jobs, NITDA has been proactively socialising with global tech giants by creating platforms for startups where they can share ideas, programs and expertise.
The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, made this known when he received a delegation from the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) led by its Executive Vice President, Trixie Lohmirman, to the corporate headquarters of the agency in Abuja.
Welcoming the visitors to Nigeria, the NITDA boss stated that collaboration is essential in creating a vibrant global tech ecosystem. He further noted that big techs in the world need the talents in Africa to survive and thrive.
“Regarding innovation and talent in the digital economy, Africa is the next frontier regarding our youthful population. He averred that even the big techs are coming to Nigeria and Africa to open their engineering departments because they need talents to survive”.
While applauding the visitors for organising the yearly Gulf Information Technology Exhibition in Dubai, Inuwa asked the Dubai World Trade Centre to consider hosting GITEX Africa in Nigeria. The authorities previously hosted a session in Marrakech, Morocco, in 2023.
“Apparently, we are moving towards strong conferences in Nigeria and need your participation. It would help if you also came to Nigeria”, he added.
Laying more emphasis, he disclosed that the country would be organising two conferences in the year, and he thinks it is an opportunity for the visitors to leverage their existing relationship and become core partners at the event.
Asides from the annual Digital Nigeria Conference organised by NITDA in October, the DG stated that the agency is partnering with the USA consulate general to bring all the USA companies to Nigeria for a Pan-African conference in the country which is the Global Tech Africa in November.
“The doors are still open to partner with us because we already have Business Sweden, the German government and other European countries on board for the summit. So, you can also be a sponsor”, he urged.
Conclusively, Inuwa expressed the agency’s enthusiasm in understudying the organization of GITEX, said that “I think we can learn from you and explore how we can build this kind of conference in Africa. If we have it in Nigeria, it is not only for Nigerians but all of Africa”.
In her earlier remark, the Executive Vice President of the DWTC thanked NITDA for their usual support towards the GITEX, Dubai. She stated that Nigeria’s support has remained one of the reasons the conference has recorded tremendous success.
“On the back of your support and the global community, GITEX is now the world’s largest tech show,” she stated.
Giving assurances of their support to Nigeria, which she says has the biggest market for startups, Lohmirman sought further collaboration with the agency by providing access to funding for startups in the country.
“This is why we are here to meet up with you as a strategic stakeholder in the Nigerian digital transformation strategy and see how we can extend our collaboration to give bigger opportunities and visibility to Nigerians to increase exportation and foreign direct investments”, she concluded.
While addressing a team of startups at the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, she declared that “Nigeria possess the secret army that will rule the world’s global tech ecosystem.”
Stunned by the passion of the young people she met at the Centre, the Executive Vice President of the DWTC commended the effort of the Centre and pushed for a startup exchange programme between Nigeria and other countries, including UAE.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the startup to interact with the highest body that manages GITEX Global to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the world’s largest tech expo.
The highly elated team from DWTC also called for more collaboration and partnership, especially in AI, as the Centre is poised to make Nigeria the AI Centre of Africa.