GITEX 2022: NITDA Boss Seeks AWS Partnership For Nigerian Startups On Local Content Development

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As part of Nigeria’s engagement at the ongoing Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, the Director General, of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, has urged Amazon Web Services (AWS) to come to Nigeria and take advantage of the country’s pool of tech talents in order to co-create products and services.

Inuwa who led the team of  Nigerian Startups currently participating at the GITEX Supernova Pitch Competition to the AWS office in Dubai implored the company to latch on to Nigeria’s youthful population, and invest in the country’s Digital Economy.

The DG emphasised that there is a need for tech big companies like AWS to leverage Nigeria’s existing policies and regulations and support the Startups to create local products and services.

“Nigeria is a big market, and we have one of the youngest populations in the world, and technology is about young people. You have all the opportunities to come and invest in Nigeria, we have the talent and talent is one of our competitive edges, when it comes to technology and innovation, Nigeria can be the global superpower,” Inuwa said.

He noted that some big techs feel threatened by government policies, while in reality, most of the government regulations are not stopping companies from dominating, rather, it is to create an enabling environment for local players and startups to participate in the ever-expanding digital economy space.

“Our Startups cannot compete with AWS as a Service Provider platform, but you can create a platform for them to build their products and services,” the DG said.

He added that “Technology is a product business. The hitch of today can quickly become memories of tomorrow. Your company is as good as your next product, and your next product is as good as the people who made it.

“Innovation is Startup business, big organisations focus more on protecting their niche, while Startups are to disrupt; come up with new ideas, make things easier and democratise services. With this kind of platform, it is easier for someone to build his product and take it to market.

“I think it is an opportunity for you also to see how can you leverage a platform like ours to build and expand your products and services. If you carry out an assessment you will discover that it is easier for you to engage our Startups than to build your own human infrastructure,” the DG stressed.

Inuwa also emphasized that no country will like to depend on another when it comes to providing digital solutions and services, every nation wants to be self-sufficient digitally. We, therefore, encourage big tech companies to come and invest locally, so that digital products and services can be built within the country.

“We know, there are controls on the use of data with respect to jurisdiction, litigation and other things; for instance, you can only litigate what happens within your jurisdiction,” he added.

While looking forward to more areas of partnership and collaboration, Inuwa is optimistic that Nigerian Startups will benefit from AWS’s various programmes which are accessible to the startup at every stage of their journey.

Inuwa’s engagement with  AWS came hours after North Star Dubai announced that nine Nigerian Startups have reached the semi-final of the Supernova Challenge Pitch Competition with up to $200,000 cash prizes for grabs for the winners of different categories.

The Nigerian Startups who are competing with their counterparts from Asia, Africa and Europe are Identity Pass, 9JaCodeKids Academy, Floews, Medtech, Paddycover, Pricepally, LiveBic, Technyon Technologies, and Wellness Health Technologies.

Mark Birch, AWS Startup Advocate and author of Community-In-A-Box: How To Build Event-Driven Professional Communities, who made the presentation on behalf of  AWS, took Nigerian Startups through a journey on how to power their innovation and build a successful company.

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