Niger Governor-elect Bago eyes Nigeria’s N21trn ICT sector GDP

Niger State Governor-elect Mohammed Umar Bago has asserted that private enterprise alongside institutional government support was an integral part of sub-regional economic development.

He made the assertion while throwing his weight behind the Tech ecosystem in Niger State at the opening of Labspace, a new tech innovation hub in Minna, the Niger State capital.

This is coming against the background of the ICT sector contributing N21.15 trillion to Nigeria’s GDP in 2022, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which represents about 18 percent of Nigeria’s GDP.

The Labspace Hub was set up to coalesce all ICT initiatives in the State in other to create a platform for them to work and connect.

Bago, who was represented at the event by Mustapha Ndajiwo, a member of the Niger state Transition Council Committee and Founder of Astound Innovation Hub and ACTG Africa, asserted that he was personally interested in the ICT sector and the incoming government had identified baseline challenges startups face and were making exclusive plans to create a conducive ecosystem that will enable startups and businesses to strive.

These include infrastructural upgrade and access, business-friendly regulations and mediating between businesses and agencies and attracting right investors to aid the growth of the state’s economy.

The founder of Labspace, Abdulkadir Suleiman Lapai also used the occasion to explain that the idea behind the initiative is to create a need to provide a support community and a conducive environment to boost innovation and creativity in youth and promote the inclusion and participation of women in Tech.

The panel discussion on “The Future of Tech in Northern Nigeria” had Mal. Aminu S Muhammad, a tech entrepreneur and writer and Hamza Yunusa, founder of Hydronamics a water-focused technology company.

It identified some of the challenges startups and founders face in the region to include negative perception of the startup business model, lack of adoption of tech to enable small and medium scale businesses to scale faster, and absence of venture capital funding and investments which are all elements of the weak Northern Nigeria startup ecosystem.

The hub’s activities shall include physical events such as community festivals, ideation training of entrepreneurs on how to use tech to grow businesses, virtual programs and social media interactions through social media communities. All of these would help to create supportive communities for founders and track startups growth.

The Startups that participated include Dairy of Hackers, a cyber security community focused on cyber protection; Bridgepay, a payment platform that enables cross border payment for goods and services in other currencies, and Cendam, a platform that integrates Logistic companies, serve mediation role between users and companies, track goods, do a last mile delivery. Also in attendance was the Salma Attah Foundation Team lead – Amrah Aliyu, who spoke on the need for inclusion of young women in Tech.

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