AS Nigeria prepares to showcase its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) war chest at the October 2014 GITEX technology exhibition in Dubai, UAE, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is optimistic that the country's participation at the forum could enable the ICT sector increase its GDP contribution from the current nine per cent to over 20 per cent after the forum.
NITDA, while engaging journalists at the weekend in Enugu, said that over 4000 different investors will be coming to showcase their potential with huge focus on Africa, where Nigeria is expected to lead the continent's push for more investment attractions, stressing that doing something in the country is as good as doing so in about six or seven other African countries at a go. Nigeria is official country partner for the exhibition.
According to the Director of Corporate Strategies and Research at NITDA, Dr. Vincent Olajunji and the GITEX duo of Commercial Director, Exhibitions and Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre and Business Development Manager, Visitors Management, Bilal Al-Rais and Eyad Khamis respectively, the technology show will expose Nigeria to other global ICT opportunities.
Olatunji, while canvassing for greater participation from Nigerians, noted that so many great things have started happening in Nigeria that are technologically driven, stressing that the country is blessed with young innovators, "by so doing, we can just be downloading, it is high time we start uploading so that the world will feel our presence. Our over reliance on oil has caused so many things in the country. ICT is a huge alternative source of revenue, which has to do with knowledge that cannot be taken away from us. "
Besides, he said such opportunity would enable Nigeria to showcase its local content development both in software and hardware to the global economy.
Olatunji, who informed that a multistakeholder approach is being used to propagate the GITEX gospel across the country, noted that Nigeria will be speaking on among others cloud computing technologies; big data development; government initiatives; eStudies/Digital strategies among others.
He informed that NITDA hoped that the exhibition could increase ICT sector's contribution to the country's GDP.
"About five to seven years ago, ICT contributed about four per cent to GDP. Three years ago, through the efforts of the Ministry of Communications Technology, it increased to six per cent. Today, ICT contributes nine per cent to GDP. After GITEX, we are looking at over 20 per cent ICT contribution to GDP through increased FDIs attraction", he stated.
According to Al-Rais, so many things need to be done to elevate Nigeria's market and promote the brand Nigeria.
"Peoples' perception of Nigeria should be broken down to investments opportunities not the challenges including insecurity. So many ICT investors across the globe last year and before looked for investments destinations in sub-Saharan Africa with concentration on Nigeria. So Nigeria must utilize this opportunity to demonstrate its reliability and showcase its offerings", he stated.
He informed that 40 other government organization are coming to represent their countries at Dubai, which will also enable them to seek investments opportunities, "so Nigeria as country partner to this year's GITEX exhibition placed it advantageous than others. So, such opportunity must be taken."