By Emeka Aginam
The acting Director of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Vincent Olatunji has inaugurated local organizing committee for Gitex 2016 just as he kicked off plans select the country’s startup champions that will give the winning start-ups are expected to grab about 1 million United States dollars.
Gitex Technology is the premier Technology event in the Middle East Africa and South Asia (MEASA).
The start-ups are expected to pitch at the Gitex start-up movement in Duabai, the United Arab Emirates where the event will be held this summer.
Nigeria through the NITDA plans to promote a minimum of 10 startups to pitch for business at this global startup gatherings expected to have over 400 startups.
The Gitex Week 2016 features the Innovation Hub around which the Gitex STARTUP MOVEMENT has been designed to house competing startups in the Showcase Pods.
Accordingly, the global startup ecosystem will be convening at GITEX 2016 with more than 2,000 entrepreneurs, investors and mentors from over 30 countries expected to provide the fillip to do deals on technology innovation.
“The NITDA will theme its 2016 Gitex participation on the promotion of ICT startups as the country aggressively pursues foreign earnings in non-oil sectors,” Dr. Olatunji said in Abuja during the Gitex 2016 LOC inauguration even as he tasked the LOC members to commit time and wits to ensuring that Nigeria achieves its objectives for being part of the Gitex event, now touted as the biggest technology event in the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.
“Our participation in Gitex over the years has really benefitted 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. I keep on telling people that 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 honour and pride”, said the NITDA’s boss.
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 organise an ICT Investment Forum.
Meanwhile, about 150, 000 trade visitors from over 144 countries are expected at Gitex 2016. “This is a ready marketplace to sell Brand Nigeria and encourage more foreign investors to stake their investment in Africa’s largest economy,” he added.
Olatunji urged the committee headed by Mr Muhammed Idris Yelwa to select the best startups able to showcase the talent, untapped skill-set, budding entrepreneurship and the willpower of the new Nigerian political leaders in order to further make the country attractive to foreign investors.
Chairman of the GITEX LOC, Mohammed Yelwa was represented at the inauguration by Dr Femi Adeluyi. The LOC members are drawn from the public and private sectors – they are 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-commitee head for the Nigeria@Gitex 2016 Secretariat; Hajia Hadiza Umar who heads the sub-committee on Pavilion Management; Mr. Segun Oruame who heads the sub-committee on media, publicity and fund raising; and Mr Bunmi Okunowo who heads the sub-commitee for Startups.