The Director General of the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Peter Jack has disclosed that there are huge investment opportunities in the country that could be leveraged by any investor.
Jack, who explained this in a chat with Daily Sun at the on -going 2014 Gulf Technology Exhibition(GITEX) in the United Arab Emirate, noted that Nigeria will attract substantial investment in the Information and Communication Technology sector.
The DG also brought to the front burner, the need for seed capital to support the growth of apps developer.
This is an opportunity to share with the world investment opportunities in the ICT sector in Nigeria because of that we have come with a sizeable number of young start-ups entrepreneurs and some of the seasoned ICT players in the industry. But most importantly, there is a strong presence of government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and lots of people from the National Assembly.
The event is supported by the First lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and Minister of foreign affairs.
What we are trying to do is to attract substantial investment in the ICT sector. It is obvious that Dubai has an initiative of internet model and smart tech. What we are trying to do in Nigeria is to harness all players in ICT Where we are now is that Nigeria has substantial capacity, which is not being properly harnessed. The moment we can harness that capacity, we should be able to deliver internet connectivity across the country. By the time, we go from here, we expect a substantial increase in the utilization of internet usage in the country.
One of the project that is really interesting to all of us is the Lagos Smart city initiative, which is the Lekki free zone area. At NITDA, we dream of a digital coast as we have the Silicon Valley in the United States of America. The digital coast will start from Lagos along the coastal road through Delta, Balyesa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and end up in Cross River, Tinapa knowledge city. The reality, is that we are looking at the potential to attract investors along these digital coasts. We also have investments in Lagos, the knowledge city, where we have the innovation hub idea ,the information technology initiative developers entrepreneurs that is activated by the federal ministry of Communication Technology, which is in partnership with NITDA.There is another centre in Calabar, which is a dual centre: an idea and the knowledge city. Don’t forget that there is the Abuja technology village to expand activation there. Right now not a lot is happening there but we are confident that with substantive investment, a lot of people will begin to look at the opportunity in the Abuja technology village.
When we say smart city, one can call it hybrid information hub, IT parks, everything that makes IT thick .We are looking at investment in infrastructure, we are looking at investors who will support Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMS) to support local manufacturers as well as those who will support the country’s start-ups, the young innovators. Recently, we had a DEMO event, where 40 start-ups were identified. So, we are looking and working towards creating an ecosystem for the ICT sector and investment will be across board not just in one area that evolves round the whole spectrum to ICT, infrastructure, connectivity and software development.
What we are also doing is to recognise the need for capacity building and skill development. The Calabar innovation hub will be committed fully to good use in terms of short and medium terms that will produce the best level of skills of software that one can find. However, we still need substantial investment because once the start -ups succeed, they need seed capital and those that will give them growth organisation. Already, we have successful young innovators, who have produced the best level of software that can be found. We need some levels of investment that will take to the next level.
There are some developers, who have created wonderful software apps and we have experienced companies, who have been there for many years. A few of them have companies, who have solutions that are world class.
Our key strategy is multi- stakeholders’ strategy. By engaging that type of model, we are going to totally eradicate the disadvantages of bureaucracy. Bureaucracy can arise when you have one or two players but when there are multi-stakeholders, that type of orientation is totally reduced. Every stakeholder comes to the table and it becomes a win-win situation.
Being an official country partner to the UAE and in particular the Dubai government .We are one country out of over 60 countries in attendance. We are also happy to announce that there are over 3,700 companies participating at the exhibition. What we are taking home is to see some of the successful stories that we have around the world and to also share our experience as well. The most important thing is the motivation that will propel those relations that have been formed in Dubai.
The reality is that our main challenge is capacity both internally and externally. Another one is the capacity to engage the international community and one of the things that we have done is to build that capacity and increase our engagement with the international community.
Source : SunOnline