Fundus AI, XchangeBox win Gitex Africa 2024 Road Show, Abuja

On  Monday, Gitex, the world’s largest tech and startup show, kicked off its 2024 Road Show in Abuja. The event featured a pitch competition focused on agritech, healthtech, and fintech, with 19 startups vying for top honours.

Fundus AI, an AI-powered solution for diagnosing diabetic retinopathy co-founded by Abdulmalik Adeyemo, and XchangeBox Solutions, a fintech startup supporting rural SMEs with loans and digital records—co-founded by Abiola Jimoh, emerged as the winners in 1st and 2nd place respectively.

Both winners will receive a trip to Gitex Africa 2024 in Morocco, including accommodation, an exhibition booth, and entry to the Supernova Challenge with a chance to win $100,000. The Road Show continues in Lagos and wraps up in Kaduna—Gitex Africa’s first-ever event in the city—on Thursday.

Beyond the startup pitches, the event featured a breakfast meeting between industry leaders and Bilal Al-Rais, Vice President, Portfolio Growth Tech & Digital, Dubai World Trade Centre. A panel discussion which focused on fostering cross-border collaboration to drive business growth was held. Participants included  Khalil Halilu, CEO of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and representatives from Nigerian agencies such as the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN),  Wema Bank, and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).

Startups outside Lagos and Abuja feel neglected

With the Nigerian tech ecosystem being one of the fastest growing in the world,  raising $398.2 million in funding in 2023, startups in the northern region still struggle to scale due to a lack of access to funding. 

At the Gitex Breakfast Briefing, discussions emerged on how to give visibility and resources to startups outside major cities like Lagos and Abuja. Usman Illiyas, co-founder of Startup Bauchi, a humanitarian development program that focuses on supporting startups, particularly in Bauchi, highlighted the disconnect between organic startups and government agencies.

“The state government and government agencies are the first point of communication for Gitex and the likes when sourcing new talents and innovation. However, without proper communication between the state government and Nigerian startups, many startups lose access to gain the visibility they need,” Illiyas noted.

Illiyas and many other participants suggested improving communication between the government and startups to ensure these startups have access to opportunities like GITEX Africa. 

Other upcoming Gitex events include GITEX Africa 2024, which will take place in Morocco from May 29-31, 2024, followed by GITEX Global in Dubai from October 14-18, 2024. GITEX will make its debut in Europe in 2025, scheduled for May 21-23.

Source: TechCabal