The Director General of Nigeria’s Information and Technology agency, NITDA, Isa Pantami, has said that by the year 2020, the annual e-Nigeria Conference, Exhibition and Award would become the African Information Technology Conference and Award.

The objective of this is to integrate other African countries into the conference.

He disclosed this at the inauguration of the Local Organising Committees, (LOCs) for e-Nigeria and Gulf Information Technology Exhibition, (GITEX) 2019 on Thursday in Abuja.

Mr Pantami explained that the management of the agency is discussing with the NITDA Governing Board to consider the proposal of co-opting other African countries to the conference and make it a continental event.

“We have a lot to learn from other African countries that are doing extremely well in the IT sector. This will create a platform form for peer review between Nigeria and some other selected African countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Morocco, Ghana, Botswana and host of others,” he said.

According to him, apart from the budget presentation, which President Mohammdu Buhari attends yearly, it is only e-Nigeria that can boast of playing host to the president on two successive occasions.

The e-Nigeria Conference, Exhibitions and Awards is NITDA’s annual flagship event that brings stakeholders together in the Nigeria IT ecosystem while the GITEX is the biggest technology show in the Middle East and third biggest technology show in the world, which creates a platform for countries to share knowledge and experience and also provides space for start-ups to meet Venture Capitalists and Angle Investors.

He advised the committee members to come up with disruptive ideas that will challenge the successes recorded in the previous years.

“I have directed my colleagues at NITDA to look at disruptive ideas; we have to challenge our successes after 365 days and do what will surpass the achievements recorded last year. I, therefore, hope these two committees will do intensive and extensive works to see to the successes of these national assignments,”he said.

On e-Nigeria, he said there is the need to consider it as a national assignment and put in their best efforts, with the view of ensuring a successful outing at the event.

He said; “e-Nigeria is very dear to us as IT stakeholders and as a nation, because of the importance the leadership of the country attached to the development of the IT sector. I advise you to see it as a rare opportunity to serve in the committee that has attracted presidential presence in two consecutive years within his first term in office.”

On GITEX, Mr Pantami charged the committee members to improve on Nigeria’s presence at the annual Technology and Investment gathering of over 200, 000 people from more than 145 countries.

The committee must explore new ways through which the country can leverage the opportunities in GITEX to bring the much desired benefits and goals for participating in GITEX.

He said members, who are drawn from across sectors, are to think out new ways of bolstering the country’s image globally and seek investments in the technology sector, where Nigeria and her growing number of startups have demonstrated great potential.

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