The recently concluded Collision Conference, held from June 26th to 29th, 2023, shed light on the Federal Government of Nigeria’s investor-friendly administrative reforms. The event, known as “The Olympics of Tech,” took place at the Enercare Centre and brought together industry leaders, innovative startups, and influential speakers from around the world.
Among the notable attendees was Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, the Director General/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), who participated as a Special Guest. Dr Usman Gambo Abdullahi, Director of Information Technology Infrastructure Solutions, represented the DG at the conference and highlighted the key reforms introduced by the Federal Government to make Nigeria an attractive destination for foreign investors.
During his speech on “How to Foster Healthy Tech Ecosystems,” the NITDA representative emphasized Nigeria’s position as Africa’s largest economy and projected its population to become the third largest globally by 2050. He emphasized that Nigeria’s strategic location in West and Central Africa, coupled with its status as Africa’s business hub, provides easy access to other regions of the world, making it an excellent investment destination.
Furthermore, Dr Usman Gambo Abdullahi highlighted Nigeria’s digital technology market, which accounts for 82% of the continent’s telecommunication subscribers and 29% of internet usage. He also pointed out that Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to experience significant growth, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.6% and an estimated 167 million new subscribers within the next five years.
The NITDA representative attributed these promising prospects to the Federal Government’s deliberate efforts to attract investors through strategic reforms. Notably, the establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in July 2016 played a pivotal role in improving the business environment in Nigeria. The council focused on eliminating bottlenecks and procedural restrictions, while also offering tax incentives, fiscal duty exemptions, and simplified regulations to facilitate business operations and attract foreign direct investment.
Thanks to these reforms, Nigeria witnessed a significant improvement in its ranking on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index. The country’s ranking rose from 169th in 2016 to 131st in 2019, with a score increase from 48.40% to 56.90%. This progress, with an average annual growth rate of 4.17%, demonstrated Nigeria’s commitment to creating a favorable environment for businesses.
To further capitalize on Nigeria’s digital technology market and promote economic transformation, the Federal Ministry of Communications was re-designated as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in October 2019. This expansion aimed to align the ministry’s mandate with the government’s economic reform initiatives. A month later, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria were launched, signifying a turning point in Nigeria’s digital transformation journey.
Dr Usman Gambo Abdullahi outlined several other reforms, including the Nigeria Startup Act, the National Digital Talent Strategy, the National Blockchain Policy, the National Blockchain Adoption Strategy, the National Outsourcing Strategy implementation, and the National Data Strategy. These initiatives collectively aimed to strengthen the startup ecosystem, position Nigeria as a global tech talent hub, leverage blockchain technology, create job opportunities, drive economic growth, and establish a thriving data analytics industry.
The NITDA representative concluded his address by highlighting the current administration’s commitment to ongoing reforms and referring to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s inauguration speech on May 29th, 2023. The President promised to review complaints about multiple taxation and anti-investment policies, signaling the government’s dedication to addressing obstacles and encouraging both local and foreign investments. Additionally, President Tinubu’s participation at the New Global Finance Pact Summit in Paris aimed to attract international investment and solidify Nigeria’s position on the global stage.
With over 36,000 attendees from 118 countries, the Collision Conference provided a platform for sharing insights and fostering collaborations among Fortune companies, innovative startups, and industry experts. The event served as a testament to Nigeria’s commitment to becoming a leading investment destination and a driving force in the global tech industry.