NITDA talks ‘ready for business’ with Nigerian Pavilion at Gitex, Dubai
By MARTIN EKPEKE, Dubai
The Nigerian Pavilion successfully held at the five-day Gitex tradeshow in Dubai, United Arab Emirates with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) affirming that Nigeria is ready for business and investors seeking to explore the vast market. The event was promoted by the Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN) and Pinnacle International LCC in partnership with Knowhow Media International publishers of IT Edge News.Com. The event may have come and gone but the Nigerian companies that exhibited at the Pavilion are still salivating over the networking opportunities and the business prospects the event brought them.
Targeted at promoting Nigerian companies, products and services to the world, participants said the first Nigerian Pavilion at Gitex may not have come at a better time especially now that the Nigerian government is looking for means to foster its commitment to grow local IT companies and expose their products and services to international opportunities.
The Nigerian pavilion at this year’s GITEX with the theme: ‘Nigeria- Ready for businesses helped to solidify different interests in the Nigeria IT terrain and provided robust synergy between government and private sector players. Local talents and solutions ranging from financial and educational solutions were on display. The forum provided a meeting point for local players to engage the government represented by the Acting Director General of NITDA, Dr. Ashiru Daura and also for potential international investors as well as partners to explore ways of navigating the country’s IT sector.
While at the pavilion, Dr. Daura said he is challenged and encouraged with the level of participation from Nigerian companies having visited some of the exhibiting hall at the Dubai World Trade Centre. “This is my first visit to Gitex, there are a lot of things to see and learn from. With what I have seen so far, I think we need to encourage our own companies especially the young ones to participate and show their products and services just like other countries have done,” he added.
Dr. Daura assured that NITDA will take the lead in organizing a better showing at the 2014 Gitex. His words: “After coming to this event, from what I have seen, there is a need for NITDA to drive Nigeria’s participation. NITDA as a government agency forms government’s representation of IT in Nigeria, we are in the best position to bring all sorts of opinion and people from the industry to this event.”
Also speaking in the same vein, the president of ITAN, Mrs. Florence Seriki said: “The exposure and business opportunities presented before Nigerians here today is great, we may not have gotten it right because this is the first time Nigeria will be having its own pavilion in GITEX but it has served as an eye opener.” Gitex is the biggest exhibition in the whole of Middle East and the South East Asia; just like other countries from across the world that established their own pavilion, the event presented Nigeria a special opportunity to showcase its local content that has been highlighted severally as part of government’s core mission for the IT sector.
It is an opportunity presented to Nigerian companies to get relevance outside the shores of Nigeria. No gain saying, for those that exhibited the return on investment is good and high. It may not be immediate but Gitex is the IT business gateway to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia Region. Gitex has consistently maintained its position as the industry’s trend setting authority; it provides exhibitors direct business opportunities with decision makers from around the globe. “Our mission was to get a Nigerian presence here and ignite a new thinking within government and the private sector that Nigeria ought to and should be represented to the outside world as a place of vast and limitless opportunities for IT,” said Mr. Akande Ojo, president and CEO of Pinnacle LLC.
For Mr. Yele Okeremi, the Chief Executive Officer of Precise Financial Services Limited, “Gitex has continually identified the hottest global IT trends and incubates these into the event either as new sectors or conference programmes. He believes that “the sectorisation of Gitex has enabled new companies to participate in identified trends as well as giving visitors the opportunity to engage, learn and implement the advances in the industry.”
Yele, who has attended Gitex in the past as a visitor has since discovered the growth and expansion opportunities inherent in the event and decided to seize the chance presented by the Nigerian Pavilion to exhibit this time. “This is the first time that PFS is coming here as an exhibitor; we are here to see how we can develop frontiers, get strategic partnerships and of course we are also here to learn. What are the rest of the world thinking, the new trend, global best practices, what is new, what can be adapted and what can be adopted to our own environment in Nigeria?”
“Though for the first time Nigeria is organizing a pavilion in Gitex that brings together companies from the private and public sector, several meetings were held, partnership deals were also sealed. The prospect is great having seen the A-Level visitors trooping in and out of the Nigerian Pavilion. It is a good start, it can be improved on and it can only get better with little effort and coordinated approach.
All that is needed is awareness and encouragement from professional bodies and government. There are many young entrepreneurs looking for an opportunity that Gitex presented and they need to be encouraged by subsidizing the cost implications for them,” said TayoAdeniyi, founder of ITAN.
For John Akinrata, the Chief Executive Officer of Antennapro Technology Limited, a young internet service provider based in Abuja who summoned courage to attend the event when approached by ITAN officers, Gitex has brought a new wave of opportunities that can be exploited by his company back home. “This is a wonderful opportunity I have looked for, I am happy that I came because I have seen and gained so much.”
Gitex’s growth is synonymous with the evolution of Dubai as a global destination. The city’s advanced infrastructure makes it an ideal gateway between the East and the West. It boasts of a 47-mile-long, fully automated Dubai Metro, World-class, award-winning airports, advanced logistics facilities and seaports and State-of-the-art convention centres. Its role in the ICT industry is pivotal for the re-export market. It is an annual international trading hub for the global technology sector. GITEX acts as both, an inbound sourcing platform for the entire Middle East region and the eminent source for anyone interested in doing business in the region.