NITDA opens entries for 2021 Innovation Challenge

By Emmanuel Elebeke

 The Director-General of NITDA, Mal. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi has charged Nigerian Technology Start-Ups not to be swayed by their 2021 achievement but to aim at winning the  global market.

The innovators had attracted an increased number  of foreign investors which led to funding valued at over $1,125,025,000 in 2021.

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He urged them not to settle for small market but aim higher as global players in the ICT ecosystem.  

 Abdullahi gave the charge at the virtual NITDA Nigerian Innovation Ecosystem Engagement held on  Thursday in Abuja.

 He said there is no passion playing small and settling for leading only in Africa if they can compete globally, saying that Nigerian Start-Ups have the talent, passion and energy to be reckoned with globally.

 ‘‘It is amazing that you have succeeded in building the most investment appealing ecosystem in Africa, attracting over 1.5B USD representing 35% of total investment in Africa in 2021.

 ‘‘This is unprecedented, but for me, there is no passion playing small and settling for leading only in Africa if we can compete globally. We have the talent, passion and energy to be reckoned with globally.

 ‘‘I believe we can, but how? It is simple, to win in the global market, we must first win in building trust within the ecosystem. Today, we have a golden opportunity to achieve that. If we fail now, I don’t know when we can.’’     

The year 2021 wrapped up as a year when foreign investors saw tech startups in the country as viable platform to invest, leading to the Nigerian tech startups attracting an increased number  of foreign investors who led funding valued at over $1,125,025,000 in 2021.

For instance, some Nigerian tech startups like Flutterwave, Opay and Andela Infact in 2021, joined the Unicons gang  in the fintech space after reaching a valuation of $1bn.

This is coming as tech adoption by both consumers and the enterprise has accelerated beyond predictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Whistler took a look at some tech startups that raised funds and attracted investments from investors in 2021. The figures were gathered from profiles of the Companies and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council.

 Speaking on the conversation, Abdllahi said, ‘‘there will never be a more perfect time to have this conversation than now. Never in the history of our country have there being a friendly administration to the innovation and tech ecosystem, like this administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.’’

 He further encouraged the Start-Ups to partner with government in order to make the ICT ecosystem more  attractive to investors.

 ‘‘You need the government and the government needs you. Government can do things you cannot and you can do things the government cannot. But together we can do great things. Together we can redefine, create and shape our tomorrow.

 ‘‘I found myself on the other side of the table. Therefore, I took it upon myself as a clarion call to use this opportunity to make my home industry a better place because I am coming back home after my public service.

 ‘‘At NITDA we are rebranding and recalibrating to reimagine our place in the ecosystem. We believe we cannot succeed in isolation,’’ he said.

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