Nigerian Minister of Communication Technology Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu told Daily News Egypt that Nigeria currently does not have any cooperation agreements with Egypt because there has been no such invitation by any individual or organisation from the country. “However, we are open to all countries and all new initiatives,” he stressed, adding that Nigeria is willing to consider any new proposal from any company from any country.
Shittu said that Nigeria currently lacks sufficient infrastructure development in its information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
“We are open to investors from all over the world. We want investors in lining of optic fibre laying to improve broadband activity. We also want establishments for the production of cables, fibre optics, handsets, and all ICT devices, since Nigeria is the largest ICT market in Africa,” he explained.
Nigeria leads its regional peers in terms of ICT penetration and development. In a recent publication, Lagos, Nigeria was declared set to overtake Nairobi, Kenya as Africa’s startup capital. Nigeria boasts many e-commerce startups like Konga, Jumia, Andela, irokotv, Farmcrowdy, and Flutterwave. News like this can be attributed to the establishment of such investments as Yabacon Valley and the $360m investments in African tech, of which Nigeria received about $109m, amongst other factors. This indicates an increase in investor interest within the Nigerian tech space.
Irrespective of its clear potential, the local market is taking some hits. The ICT infrastructure, which is essential for the development of high-value services and successful tech companies, remains poor in terms of coverage, quality, and price. The economic landscape has led to reduced expenditure on ICT and an increase in costs.
According to the director general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Isa Pantami, over NGN 720bn is estimated to be leaving Nigeria’s economy annually through the importation of IT equipment, solutions, and services; the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) had recently released statistics declaring that 90% of IT products and services being used in the banking industry, for instance, are foreign while local vendors are left unpatronised.
In addition, while many countries, especially developed ones, are gearing up for the 5G evolution, many African countries, including Nigeria, are just embracing 4G. Still, many Nigerians continue to prefer 3G services.