National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has inaugurated a team of Local organizing committee to identify and promote a minimum of 10 startups to pitch at the Gitex 2016 in Dubai.
With $1 million up for grab for the winner startup movement competition, the IT implementing agency says Nigeria’s participation at Gitex would be a major leap for ICT startups as the country aggressively pursues foreign earnings in non-oil sectors.
Dr Vincent Olatunji, acting Director General of NITDA told the committee headed by Mr Muhammed Idris Yelwa to select the best startups able to showcase their talent, untapped skill-set, budding entrepreneurship “in order to make the country attractive to foreign investors.”
NITDA wants LOC members to commit time and wits to ensuring that Nigeria achieves its objectives for being part of the Gitex event, now regarded as the biggest technology event in the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.
According to Olatunji, “our participation in Gitex over the years has really benefited the country in many ways. It has attracted investments to the country; and two of our startups that showcased their innovation at last year’s event have been engaged by a Malaysia company.”
For him, “ICT is the credible alternative to oil. Through ICT the country could gain quickly what it had lost to oil in the last few years since the oil price started nose diving. So, I urge this LOC to do this work diligently as if there is no tomorrow. You may be helping the country back on the path of honor and pride.”
As part of the efforts to thicken the value of Nigeria’s participation and enlighten potential investors at the five day event on the country’s non-oil sectors, he said the country would organised an ICT Investment Forum.
With about 150, 000 trade visitors from over 144 countries are expected at Gitex 2016, Olatunji said “this is a ready marketplace to sell Nigeria brand and encourage more foreign investors to stake their investment in Africa’s largest economy.”
Gitex Week 2016 features the Innovation Hub around which the Gitex start up movement , which is expected to have over 400 startups, has been designed to house competing startups in the Showcase Pods.
The global startup ecosystem will be convening at GITEX 2016 with more than 2,000 entrepreneurs, investors and mentors from over 30 countries expected in the event.
The LOC, with members drawn from the public and private sectors, is expected to provide the drive for a successful Gitex outing for Nigeria in October.
Sub-committee heads include: Mr. Muhammad Idris Yelwa, the LOC chairman and sub-committee head for the Nigeria@Gitex 2016 Secretariat; Hajia Hadiza Umar, heading the sub-committee on Pavilion Management; Mr. Segun Oruame, heading the sub-committee on media, publicity and fund raising; and Mr Bunmi Okunowo who heads the sub-committee for Startups.
Gitex Technology is the premier technology event in the Middle East Africa and South Asia (MEASA), with technology trade show that occupies over 78,000 sqm of space, and records over 145,530 trade visitors from 144 countries in 2015. Nigeria was the official Country Partner for Gitex 2014.
Also, more than 35,000 visitors came from Africa in the 2013 edition of Gitex where Nigeria premiered its presence by setting up the Nigerian Pavilion which was promoted by the Nigerian Government through the NITDA.
Organisations sitting on the Gitex 2016 LOC include: Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Computer Professional Registration Council (CPN), Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), National Association of Computers Science Students (NACOSS), Nigeria Satellite Communications Limited (NigComSat), and Information Technology Industries Association of Nigeria (ITAN).