10 Nigerian IT startups compete for top awards in Dubai

Ten startups innovations in information technology selected by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) will represent Nigeria at this year’s Feature Stars competition as part of the annual Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX).

Last year, one of startups pitched for the awards by Nigeria, Chiniki, won the top prize for AI solutions at the 2019 GFS.

The 40th edition of th exhibition opens on Sunday at the World Trade Centre in the United Arab Emirates’ city, with participants from over 80 countries.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ibrahim, who inaugurated Nigeria’s pavilion at the exhibition grounds, expressed optimism on the viability of the startups selected to represent the country at the global competion.

He said the purpose of Nigeria’s participation at the event was not just for the delegates to observe what was brought by others, but to also present the country’s innovation at the world stage.

“As we all know, last year we won the first position in the category of artificial intelligence. I do hope that this yeat we are going to do the same or even better than what we have achieved last year,” the minister said.

Mr Ibrahim admonished all participants to maximise the benefits of participating in the event through attending exhibitions, conferences and other learning opportunities.

The minister also expressed hope that Nigeria’s attendance at the exhibition will aid the ministry and the country in implementing its National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) develped under Mr Ibrahim’s watch.

NITDA, which is leading Nigeria’s participation at the exhibition, said GITEX 2020 was anchored on promoting youth-led enterprises to showcase innovations coming from its tech startups community, and the country’s strong policy-thrust on digital economy.

The agency is offering full sponsorship to a number of startups across the country to participate in the Global Future Stars (GFS), a major highlight of GITEX 2020 offering a veritable window for the country’s startup community to leverage international exposure, attaract investors and mentorship.

NITDA director general, Kashifu Abdullahi, said the agency will be projecting its anchor-themes at the GITEX Africa Investment Forum (AIF) round exploring the new generation of entrepreneurs, investors and government leaders making the most of technology to continue bringing economic growth and prosperity to the continent generally, and Nigeria specifically.

The 2020 GITEX AIF, according to the agency, is a one-day programme that will cover key tech trends across industries with representation from Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

Mr Abdullahi said Nigeria targets early recovery from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and sees strong economic rebound through the tech innovations of its youths even as it explores the digital economy space to seek for global collaboration so as to re-energise and re-engineer its economy.

“Nations are increasingly navigating the pandemic to keep their economy growing, and avoid complete stagnation. NITDA’s firm belief in the Nigerian youth and the capacity of the tech innovation ecosystem to join in transforming the nation’s economy underscore the numerous support of the agency for youth entrepreneurship and specifically continuous sponsorship of startups to the GITEX.”

The organisers said GITEX 2020 will be the only major technology show to be held physically this year,

“As the only face to face technology event to be held in 2020, GITEX 2020 attendees will be able to hear key insights from a huge range of international speakers and influencers and interact with exhibitors across the conference agenda and exhibition areas centre on the key themes of 5G, AI, Analytics, Future Mobility, Digital Economies, Cybersecurity and Cloud and Edge computing – everything that will underpin the future digital living
GTEX 2020 is reinforcing post pandemic recovery, offering the over 100, 000 visitors a real-life platform to explore opportunities and challenges beyond COVID-19.

“This year will feature 26 exhibition sectors from over 80 countries and an opportunity for a see-through on what’s coming next in the world of technology and business, as top technology enterprises, startups and think-tanks from around the world reveal their eureka moments and life-changing innovations.”

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