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COVID 19: NITDA DG tasks Nigerian ICT startups on disruptive technologies



DG NITDA addressing participants via Video Conferencing during a ‘Virtual Demo Day: COVID-19 Innovation Challenge’ organised by Venture Platform Hub.

The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi has tasked Nigerian Startups to prepare for more innovative ideas while the world is fighting Coronavirus pandemic which is ravaging the economy.

The DG made this call today while addressing participants via Video Conferencing during a ‘Virtual Demo Day: COVID-19 Innovation Challenge’ organised by Venture Platform Hub.

According to the DG, COVID 19 is going to change the entire technology and economic activities in the world, and industries around the globe will be disrupted with many innovations.

He said COVID-19 has made a significant impact on digital technology and there is need for Nigerian StartUps to be on alert because the change is inevitable.

“Things are not going to be the same after the pandemic. The world economic order is going to change. A lot of industries are going to be disrupted. Startups should be ready to embrace the inevitable change,” he said.

The DG opined that, “As at January this year, the global market valuation of unicorns is more than $2trillion. I said unicorns, means a privately owned company worth one billion U.S. dollars or more. Once a company has gone public (IPO) or has been acquired, it is no longer termed as a Unicorn. I believe you can grow your startups to become a unicorn.”

“You can grow your startup to become a unicorn within short period by following the playbook successful startups had followed. It is a 3 simple rules; firstly, they begin with a plan to disrupt an existing industry; secondly, they inject capital to grow as rapidly as possible and; thirdly they tolerate high risk in a rush to conquer and dominate market segment.

“As Africans, our young and digitally native population is a competitive advantage. In addition, our market is still untapped. There are 615 unicorns in the world, 43% is in the USA (265), 33% in China (204) only 3 unicorns are in Africa; two in South Africa and one in Nigeria.

He further stated that Health and pharmaceuticals sector is the number 7th in global unicorn market valuation. It’s worth around $99.11 billion, and COVID-19 is going to widen the market share, and it’s an opportunity for startups to create and capture value from the pandemic.

He said, “Nigeria’s startup landscape has been slowly coming of age with innovative and entrepreneurial ideas. As the startup numbers flourished over the last few years so does the need for bigger investors and venture capitalists.”

He also urged the Startups to turn the COVID-19 frustration into delight by coming up with innovative ideas that can create value for them and Nigeria in general, as well partner with Federal Government and Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under the leadership of Dr Isa Ali (Pantami) who is levelling the playing field for startups to thrive.