And for those of you, for whom it is your first time in Africa, welcome to Africa, the rising continent Nigeria is particularly delighted to be hosting the third edition of Demo Africa, arguably the most exciting place for African start ups to be.
Securing the hosting rights to this event this year is indeed a validation of the Federal Government’s renewed focus on the ICT industry in general and the software development industry in particular.
The recent IPOs of Twitter and Alibaba are testimonies of what is possible.
Africa is indeed rising but this has not always been the case.
On May 13th 2000, The Economist, an international current affairs magazine, had on its cover page a silhouette of the African continent, within it was the image of an armed guerrilla fighter; its caption read: “The Hopeless Continent”.
And this is because government, innovation and entrepreneurship are rarely mentioned in the same breath.
But governments, indeed African governments have an important role to play in catalysing the start up industry as evidenced in the US and of course Israel.
The Nigerian government has done and will continue to do her bit to support the software development industry We are contributing to the development of a robust pipeline of start-ups with our industry focussed Techlaunchpad software competitions and our IDEA incubators and accelerators (last time in this hall was to graduate 7 companies out of the hub).
Today we have added 70 start-ups to this fledgling but vibrant ecosystem and 4 IDEA incubatees have emerged finalists for Demo Africa 2014.
The increase in the number of mobile subscribers has fuelled increases in mobile internet use in Africa and we are considered to be at the cusp of a mobile internet revolution.
Predictions are that mobile internet use in Africa will increase twenty fold in the next five years …
For real, the Nigerian ICT ministry’s million dollar startup fund is a done deal, and it will be officially announced any day now.