“You can live in Nigeria but work for Western companies, the start-ups that offer this are already there”

The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, has declared Nigeria the most viable Information Technology (IT) investment destination in the world.

Addressing an international audience of tech giants, he said the country ticks all the boxes in terms of size, population, youth demographics, government support, and legal and regulatory framework.

At the 2023 Digital Life Design (DLD) conference in Munich, Germany, Kashifu predicted that by 2030 there would be a global shortage of 85 million IT professionals, advising the world not to overlook Nigeria.

“The average age in Nigeria is 19 years old; we have a demographic advantage. We will become the global IT talent factory”, stressed the head of NITDA.

“You can live in Nigeria but work for Western companies, the startups that offer this are already there. India has been leading and we have to do something about it.”

Kashifu expressed concern that Africa is almost ignored because “some people think there’s nothing going on economically there anyway.”

He gave an example of Mo Ibrahim, who founded a mobile phone company in Sudan but was discouraged because the people were poor.

The IT expert recalled that after a few years, the British-Sudanese businessman sold Celtel, now active in 13 countries, for $3.4 billion.

“Nigeria has 15 percent of the continent’s 1.4 billion people and a significant percentage of its GDP. Of the seven African unicorns (start-ups) worth more than $1 billion, five are from Nigeria,” Kashifu said.

The CEO added that the Nigerian government is supporting technology companies with funds while working on legislation to regulate the IT industry and safeguard investments.

Kashifu was recently awarded the 2022 Foreign Investment Network (FIN) Outstanding CEO of Corporate Governance Award, the African Information Technology Icon, the ISACA Inspirational Leadership Award and the ICT Personality of the Year from NADIR.

In 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari awarded the National Order of Productivity Merit (NPOM) Award to NITDA in recognition of its productivity, hard work and excellence in service delivery.