The Nigerian startup ecosystem has being alluded as having the capacity of become the strong catalytic force for sustainable economic growth, and even producing the like of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.
The Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Pantami, made this remark at the Sixth StartUP Nigeria, the brainchild of the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), adding that 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.”
NITDA, he said has strengthened its processes for proper regulation and development, crucial for supporting the startup and entrepreneurs ecosystem in the country, especially now that revenue from the ‘oil and gas’ industry is on downward trend.
The NITDA DG said, StartUPNigeria held in Lagos is a prelude to GITEX 2017, as Agency tends to select the best startups to represent the country, identify with those that need technical, financial supports to push their solutions forward.
“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 $143billion annual comes from ICT; Nigeria accounts for 180million with 60 per cent young people who are addicted to ICT.
“Today, you can’t do without smart devices or not connected; it’s not worth trying. We as ICT natives are addicted to it. The best way is not importation, but using our intellects to develop. No country will survive depending on ICT importation.
We have met with OEMs to see how to reduce the level of importation. We want to have a ‘Mark Zuckerberg’ in Nigeria. Nigeria is closer to having own Zuckerberg and we shall surely support the process that will produce that platform,” he said.
Earlier in her remark, Acting National Coordinator of OIIE, Dr. Amina Sambo Magaji, lauded the exemplary leadership of the NITDA DG and the management for giving OIIE platform to meet with startups and solve needs in the ecosystem, turning new ideas and inventions into products and technologies that spur job growth and competitiveness while promoting economic development.
She disclosed that over 60 pitches were received online for StartUP Nigeria, while 11 startups made pitched at the event held in Lagos.
Startups that Pitched include Accounteer; TheFarmyard; “Six”; Nicademia; Livekampus; Comestibles Nigeria; Novael; TapPay; SwiftCheckup; and Middleman.com.ng.
By Tony Nwakaegho