The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa pantami, has pitched to investors on opportunities in Nigeria, particularly, in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
The Minister told the potential investors that Nigeria is both a geographic and an economic gateway to sub-Saharan Africa. As a geographic gateway, it has a prime location between West and Central Africa.
In other words, investing in Nigeria gives investors easy access to close to 550 million people- 200 million from Nigeria, another 200 million West Africans and about 150 million Central Africans, Dr Pantami said.
The Nigerian Minister made this assertion today while delivering the keynote address at the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) titled: “Nigeria’s Digital Economy: A Golden Investment Opportunity”.
TechEconomy.ng can report that the investment forum is part of the official activities lined up by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the ongoing 40th edition of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX).
Dr Pantami who doubles as the leader of the Nigerian delegation called on potential investors not to shun the golden opportunity of investing in the largest economy in Africa (Nigeria), “Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, with a 2019 GDP estimate by the World Bank putting our GDP at $448 billion”, he said.
More on the Minister’s pitch to the investors:
Africa and Indeed Nigeria, is ready for investment
“When it comes to Africa, we have so many things that set us apart. We have more than 1.3 billion people. We are only second to Asia. Secondly, when it comes to landmass, Africa is larger than the landmass of Europe and America combined.
“In terms of raw materials, we know that the materials required for the manufacturing of electronic gadgets – laptops, chips and many other ICT tools, are found in Africa.
“When it comes to age, our age bracket is around 25- years which is contrary to what is obtainable in the developed world where theirs is around 45 – 50 years.
“Nigeria is the strategic gateway for investment in Africa. When you invest in Nigeria, technically, you have invested in Africa. Nigeria is somehow at the centre of Africa with proximity to other regions on the Continent.
“When it comes to population, Nigeria has a population a little higher than 200 million. Our average age bracket is about 18.2 year. Therefore, our population are young people who are the digital natives. It is because of this that you will discover that more than 44% of our population are less than 25 years old.
“In addition, we have a robust workforce, who are resilient and ready to learn; they are more interested in adding value to your enterprise.
“In addition, our laws are investor-friendly. Today, we have a powerful delegation comprising the Executive and Legislative, and ready to listen to the investment community. You are free to engage with all of them and express yourself.
“When it comes to skills and knowledge, our citizens are highly innovative. We have 10 startups at GITEX 2020 who have developed solutions to solve 21st Century challenges. Last year we had similar numbers. One of them won the first prize in the Artificial Intelligence category; defeating others from more than 70 countries. This is a clear indication that our citizens are highly innovative.
Nigeria Innovating her way out of COVID-19
“When it comes to COVID-19, our citizen developed ‘Hologram’; a system that is deployed in aircrafts by using electronic sound to detect COVID-19 cases on board a flight. It would alert the pilot on the passenger with that case. As I speak, Airbus has engaged that application with the intention of deploying it on the aircrafts.
“These are few examples to show how young Nigerians display talents on a global scale.
Furthermore, when it comes to Gross Domestic Products (GDP) Nigeria accounts for the highest GDP in Africa with approximately $448 billion as at 2019. So, there are more investment opportunities in Nigeria.
Nigerians are highly accommodating too.
Nigeria pursues Developmental Policies:
“The Federal Government of Nigeria have different policies meant to provide enabling environment of the investment community. The present administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, has been working daily to provide solutions to challenges faced by the investor community. So far, by the end of 2019; when it comes to Ease-Of-Doing-Business, Nigeria climbed 15 points higher than previous year. Our target is that by 2025 we will be among the leading nations when it comes to Ease-Of-Doing-Business. Today, we are promoting online business registration, online visa processing, among other investment-friendly policies. Our regulatory focus is developmental in nature, especially in the ICT sector.
Digital Economy (Nigeria) Agenda
“As a country, Nigeria is working towards becoming the leading nation in the Digital Economy. The Federal Government of Nigeria has developed a Digital Economy Policy that has eight pillars that crave for investments. They are;
- Developmental Regulation;
- Digital Literacy and Skills;
- Solid Infrastructure;
- Service Infrastructure;
- Digital Services Development and Promotion;
- Soft Infrastructure;
- Digital Society and Emerging Technologies; and
- Indigenous Content Development and Adoption.
Provision of Infrastructure
“Our broadband penetration is increasing by the day. Last year, it was only 33%. But as at the end of October this year, the Nigerian broadband penetration was more than 45%. We are targeting to have at least 50% by the end of December this year. These are clear indications that broadband penetration in Nigeria is increasing by the day.
“Our citizens are becoming digitally skilful. During this pandemic, more than 120,000 Nigerians were trained online, particularly, in the areas of artificial intelligence, cyber security, quantum computing and many more.
“It is because of this that we are here on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria to have engagement with you as potential investors that are willing to come to Nigeria in Nigeria.
“Like I said earlier, investment in Nigeria is an investment in Africa, particularly with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and it gives us access to the African continent covering an area worth over US$3 trillion in GDP and eliminates tariffs on 90% of goods traded across the continent. This is no doubt a unique opportunity for investors in Nigeria”.