The Nigerian tech ecosystem industry has enticed many investors in the African ecosystem. About 30% of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was attracted, thus making the country the hub of digital technology in the continent.
This was announced at the just concluded Leaders Without Borders Annual Business Summit and International Honors 2023 in London with the theme: “Business Beyond Borders, Global Partnerships and Sustainable Investments” by the director general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Kashifu Inuwa.
The country’s ecosystem has engaged about 4.4 billion dollars in investment between 2015, 2019, and 2020 subsequently. The ICT sector added around 18.5% to Nigeira’s GDP as presented at the event which brought together entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the world.
The Spokesperson of NITDA, Hadiza Umar, stated that NITDA had also supported the ecosystem industry through seed funding and grants, training, and 753 start-ups. Some of the attributes of their support were shown in a competition held in Riyadh where two out of the start-ups taken, were global winners; winning $150,000 dollars each. This has gone to show how vibrant and flourishing the Nigerian tech ecosystem is in Africa where approximately 30% of all FDI ends up in Nigeria.
The Director General (DG) of NITDA gave the history of his agency saying it was established 22 years ago to assist citizens in using Information Technology (I.T). However, at that time, only about half a million Nigerians had access to computers and their contribution was less than 0.05% to the nation’s GDP. But recently NIDTA has done a lot in the I.T. space giving rise to the ecosystem industry with over 120 million Nigerians having access to the internet with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) contributing 18.5% to the GDP.
He said that NITDC plans to use the Nigerian local dialects to qualify every citizen with the ability to use digital devices and be literate in using them to perform regular tasks and services. This he stated has commenced with about 3.3 million Nigerians already trained in digital literacy to boost the economy and ecosystem.
He added that a route has been created for emerging technologies through the digital economy which has provided opportunities to turn youths into global champions by harnessing their potential.
Since then, NIDTA has started the construction of a standard I.T. framework in governmental parastatal. This framework will create necessary I.T. skills in cities, rural areas, and schools in order to develop human capital which will bring about an educated-based system in the country’s ecosystem.
This is why the Agency’s directive is mainly centered on developing the nation’s digital economy ecosystem. These directives include; developing a level playing field for youths/start-ups to grow businesses, making provisions or encouraging policies and infrastructure for undeserving and unserved communities, and helping youths with seed funding for projects and ideas.
Other notable developments by the NITDC as disclosed by the DG were as follows:
- Many IT Hubs, IT parks, and community ICT centers were established and equipped with standard facilities all around the federation.
- Establishment of the National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), to help research, development, and adoption of emerging technologies in Nigeria.
He mentioned the four critical investors to be considered in the tech ecosystem which are the institutions; the schools, and universities to produce the human capital; the government, who are to provide enabling environment and infrastructure; the private organizations who are to create employment for the human capital produced from the institutions; and the risk capital who are the main funders of projects.