Nigeria’s Innovation Ecosystem Most Fruitful in Africa – NITDA DG
TECHDIGEST – The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has said that Nigeria’s innovation ecosystem is the most productive in Africa corresponding to investment worth over $1.5 billion.
Abdullahi, who stated this in his opening remarks at the virtual NITDA Nigerian Innovation Ecosystem Engagement today in Abuja, noted that Nigeria has all it takes to be a leading player in the global innovation arena.
“It is amazing that you have succeeded in building the most investment appealing ecosystem in Africa, attracting over $1.5 billion representing 35 percent 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?
“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,’’ he said.
Abdullahi shared his experience on how the cross-border payment platform he created was able to remit over N130 million from the UK to Nigeria before the business folded up, due to the numerous challenges confronting startups in the country.
The NITDA DG, however, vowed to use his current position and experience to sustain an enabling environment that can truly accelerate growth in the innovation sector.
“I perfectly understand how rough the journey is. I know how important it is to have enabling policies and infrastructure and how painful it is to fail. I will never forget when my friends and I built a cross-border payment platform using bitcoin in 2013.
“The platform was successfully tested and remitted over 130 million Naira from the UK within a month. But we failed to take the product to market because of the same challenge some of you face today.
“Now, accidentally, 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,’’ he pledged.
Highlighting the significance of the engagement, Abdullahi noted that it was necessary to strengthen synergy and trust between the players in the innovation ecosystem and the government for the overall advancement of the digital economy.
“Our Minister, Prof. Isa Pantami, is so passionate about you to the extent that he hardly says no to anything that accelerates growth in the sector no matter what. He formulated more than 16 policies to make life easier for you.
“At NITDA we are rebranding and recalibrating to reimagine our place in the ecosystem. We believe we cannot succeed in isolation. 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,’’Abdullahi added.
TechDigest reports that the Chief IT Officer of the Federation expressed confidence that deliberations from the innovation engagement would deepen collaboration among the stakeholders.