Digital Economy: Leap 2022 And The Nigeria-Saudi Technology Partnership, by Mubarak Umar

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  • February 7, 2022
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As the world’s technology experts gathered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at the maiden edition of LEAP 2022, Nigerian startups were not left behind in a bid to showcase their innovative ideas to the global technology market. They interacted with potential investors, patent and other startups from different parts of the world, luring investors to come to Nigeria and invest in the country’s fast growing digital economy.

These Startups exhibited their readiness in showing the world their innovative ideas across various technologies such Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Analytics, Transportation, Digital Economies, Cyber Security and Resilience, Cloud and Edge Computing and Blockchain Technology.

LEAP 2022 which held from 1st – 3rd February 2022 themed ‘One Eye on the Stars’ became the largest debut technology in history. The event presented series of conferences, presentations, and workshops organised on the side-lines of the exhibition, brought together world’s leading technology companies, global startups and innovators. LEAP afforded a suitable platform for future technologies professionals to showcase their progresses and how cutting-edge technologies are used to tackle the biggest challenges facing societies.

The entries, who were fully sponsored by Federal Government through National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), under the supervision of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, showcased their innovative ideas that will transform economies and solve pertinent issues. These startups did not only pitch and showcased their innovations but also attended various knowledge sharing sessions and conferences that has exposed them to numerous ways to accelerate their products for the best market fit. The startups attracted world’s biggest technology mentors, angel investors and venture capitalists.

At several sideline meetings, the Nigerian delegation led by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), alongside the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammad D. Abubakar, wooed international investors on the opportunities Nigeria provides that can be tapped especially indigenous technology innovations.

One of the major takeaways by Nigeria from LEAP 2022 is the Saudi Arabian government’s partnership to provide Nigerian startups with accelerated entry and support through Digital Cooperation Organisation (DCO) Startup Passport that will be between the 8-member DCO countries. This initiative will increase the success rate of Nigerian startups by creating the borderless environment entrepreneurs need to grow and prosper across markets worth nearly $2 trillion in GDP. About 10 Nigerian startups are set to pitch with others from various regions across member countries for the $600,000 startup support grant.

President and CEO of Saudi Aramco, Amin Nasser announced the Aramco Ventures, formal launch of its $1 billion diversified growth fund, called Prosperity7. The funds are to be invested on startups around the world including Nigeria with big ideas, top talents and disruptive technologies to solve the world’s biggest challenges. A total of investments worth about $10 billion in technology and startups were announced at LEAP with a focus on future technologies.

Nigeria being one of the fastest growing technology hub in Africa is accelerating socio-economic development through digital innovation and entrepreneurship in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a digital Nigeria. The Nigeria – Saudi Arabia partnership is ignited by the country’s movement to a digital economy in its effort to diversify the economy.

The Honourable Minister Prof. Pantami explained that the fastest growing economy is the digital sector which pivoted the exiting of Nigeria out of recession. He further noted that some global tech giant investors are ready and willing to come to Nigeria to invest in different sectors.

Nigeria top 10 startups that showcased their ideas as sponsored by NITDA and NCC are:

SchoolTry: an Edutech solution that adopts the innovative use of technology to facilitate a smart environment for school & learning management. Built to help school administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders to connect and share information in real time.

Trail: Founded by Malumi Opeyemi, is a car sharing application for general populace, schools and organisation that takes people to their nearest bus stop and destination leveraging on emerging technologies. It is GPS App that has live camera for monitoring children while being transported to schools.

EDU-VR: created by Ibrahim Arome Ahmed, is a digital 3D learning solution that empowers students to directly engage with their subject matter through interactive virtual reality, augmented reality contents, transforming learning in the class room.

Capsule Technology: provides free Accounting and Human Resources software to small businesses as well as premium data services to financial institutions and government agencies such as Credit Rating, Automated Auditing System, Asset Verification, Tax Remittance, Risk & Loan Prediction to help their SMEs Credit decision making.

Their participation at LEAP 2022 has opened door for Capsule in Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, who have seen the Nigerian made technology solution as a strategic platform in managing MSMEs.

MyClinic: is a digital health startup working to deliver low-cost process automation solutions to hospitals in resource limited settings. It was designed to deploy solution to hospitals across the Nigeria, solving problems of cost and complex, and increase access to healthcare via telemedicine.

MyClinic participation in LEAP 2022 provided them with the opportunity to meet investors, ventures capitalist and other global startups across the world.

Domineum Business Services: is a technology Company that specializes in Data Privacy & Compliance, Digital Security, Blockchain-as-a-service (Baas), and Business Consultancy.To solve complex problems, they apply many methodologies wielded by strategy consulting specialists with deep industry and functional knowledge.

Livestock247: is Nigeria’s first online Livestock Platform. Our goal as a company is to create an ecosystem where all major stakeholders in the livestock value chain can co-exist together to create a synergy. Livestock247 is also promoting the transformation of agriculture by empowering rural livestock farmers especially women.

Paysabil: is a platform that provides a secured payment platform for individuals (Donors) to make voluntary Sadaqah/Zakat to mosques and other faith based charity projects (Receivers). It uses the strategy of donations and mobile technology to structure the cash based and grossly abused donation collection system in many worship places. It is a technology platform that connects landowners with farmers, farmers with input developers and suppliers, farmers with buyers of paddies, paddy merchants with millers, millers with buyers of milled rice, warehouse owners, logistic service providers, packaging companies, wholesalers of milled rice, retailers of milled rice, and household and institutional consumers of milled rice.

Tanadi Digital Cooperative: is a Nigerian pioneer non-interest fintech company duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commissions and also a registered Cooperative under the Nigerian Cooperatives Societies with the goal of driving the financial inclusion of individuals who do not have access to financial services, provision of interest free credit facilities to members, promoting savings culture and encouraging ethical investment.

Mubarak Umar writes from Abuja

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