The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has wooed potential investors into the Nigeria’s growing Information Technology sector, saying that the country is an investment gateway to the entire African continent.
Mr Pantami made the call during the Africa Investment Forum, AIF session during the 2020 Global Innovation and Technology Exhibition, GITEX, in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, UAE.
According to him, Nigeria’s average age of 25 which makes about 44% of the country’s population, is being dominated by youths who are attached to ICT.
The minister recalled that during the 2019 GITEX, a Nigerian youth had won the 1st place in the category of Artificial Intelligence, beating over 75 countries at the exhibition.
This, he said, gives Nigeria an upper hand in the eyes of potential investors, noting that Nigerians only seek to add value with what they make out of the ICT.
He said: “Nigeria is the strategic gateway for investment in Africa. When you invest in Nigeria, you technically invest in Africa.
Nigeria has a population that is a little higher than 200million people today and it is the most populous country in Africa. Not only the population, but you will also discover that the average age in Nigeria is only 18.28.
“Our population has been dominated by youths and naturally, youths are so much attached to ICT. It is because of that that we discover today, more than 44% of our population are less than 25 years old and are so much attached to ICT.
“We also have a very cheap workforce. If you employ a Nigerian today, you will discover that they are not too materialistic and unnecessarily too ambitious, but they are more interested in the value they will add and how to sustain their lives legitimately and legally.
“Geographically Nigeria is in the middle of Africa so its proximity to the other parts of Africa; West Africa, East Africa, North Africa and South Africa and Nigeria is somehow at the center, which allows you to have access to the remaining countries.”
Mr Pantami noted that the Africa Investment Forum had been useful in attracting investment to Nigeria particularly in the ICT sector.
While lamenting that the 2020 participation at GITEX has been restricted to not more than 20% of last year’s participants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Pantami assured potential investors of the opportunities Nigeria had in store for them.
He said: “On behalf of the president of Nigeria, being the leader of the delegation, I will use this opportunity to thank all our potential investors that are here with us to listen to what Nigeria has for the potential investors and the opportunities we have in the country.
“The Africa Investment Forum focuses more on Africa before narrowing down to Nigeria.
“When it comes to Africa, we have so many opportunities there. Firstly, Africa has more than 1.3 billion people in terms of population.”
“We are only second to Asia. Asia is the only continent that has more population than Africa. Secondly, when it comes to land mass, Africa is more than the landmass of Europe and North America combined together.
“Thirdly, when it comes to raw materials, particularly the natural ones, there are many natural resources required for the manufacturing of ICT gadgets like tantalite. Africa accounts for more than 71% of the whole world tantalite.
“When it comes to cobalt, Africa accounts for over 58% of the world cobalt and these are the materials that are required for the manufacturing and production of electronics, laptops and many ICT gadgets.
“When it comes to age, you will discover that our average age in Africa is around 25 years contrary to what is being found in many countries in the world where the average age is 45 to 50 years.”