Noel K. Tshiani is the managing director of Congo Business Summit, a flagship conference and expo organised by Congo Business Network. The network works with startups, corporations, and government officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo and abroad. With a profound dedication to innovation, the organisation is passionate about nurturing and advancing the country’s startup and tech ecosystems, recognising the transformative impact they can have on the country’s economy.

With the unveiling of Congo Business Summit today, August 1, 2023, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) emerges prominently as a thriving hub of untapped potential and innovation, presenting an exciting destination for Nigerian tech startups seeking to expand and flourish.

Congo Business Summit, scheduled to be held at Pullman Kinshasa Grand Hotel from October 12 to 13, 2023, is the largest gathering of startups, innovation leaders, and investors in the DRC. The event is designed to foster insightful conversations, encourage strategic networking, and cultivate partnerships. Alongside exhibitors, panels, and workshops focusing on startups, entrepreneurship, investments, and technology, the summit guarantees participants, particularly startups, extensive media coverage and valuable connections to a variety of investors.

The DRC, a country of 100 million people, has experienced steady economic growth and an impressive digital transformation. This momentum has been further strengthened by the creation of the Ministry of Digital Affairs over the past two years, as well as the adoption of the startup law on September 8, 2022, which reflects the country’s commitment to building the digital economy and supporting tech entrepreneurship.

Nigerian tech startups are presented with a rich and promising landscape, ripe with opportunities for those seeking to explore new markets and embark on transformative avenues for growth. The strategic positioning of the DRC, bordering nine nations, offers an additional potential consumer base of around 250 million people. Clearly, this is an opportunity too significant for any ambitious entrepreneur to bypass.

While the story of the DRC has been told primarily through the lens of its natural resources, estimated at nearly $24 trillion, the scope of the country’s business potential, especially beyond the mining sector, has been largely ignored. With its youthful and vibrant population, coupled with low labour costs and an expansive domestic market, the DRC offers a wealth of opportunities for innovative startups looking to establish a presence on the international stage.

That is why Nigerian tech startups can draw inspiration from successful corporations closer to home. Access Bank, FirstBank DRC, and United Bank for Africa serve as exemplary success stories, illustrating the potential and triumph of Nigerian companies that have boldly and effectively expanded into the vibrant and opportunity-rich Congolese market.

Pioneering startups in sectors such as fintech, edtech, agritech, insurtech and medtech will find a dynamic and receptive audience at Congo Business Summit in Kinshasa in October. With its evolving technology infrastructure and growing demand for innovative solutions to everyday challenges, from financial inclusion to quality education, accessible healthcare and sustainable agriculture, the DRC offers a fertile environment for expansion.

Congo Business Summit provides a unique setting for Nigerian tech startups to interact with their Congolese counterparts, potential business partners, journalists and government ministers. This rare opportunity offers a unique opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge and deep insights into the dynamics of doing business in the DRC, navigating the regulatory environment, comprehending the subtleties of consumer behaviour, and forging fruitful strategic partnerships.

Nigerian tech startups should view the DRC market not only as a fertile ground for their own growth and expansion, but as an important stage on which they can play a transformative role in the socio-economic advancement and mutual prosperity of both nations. By introducing innovative solutions and services, Nigerian startups can address key challenges, create jobs, improve living standards and enhance collective prosperity.

Open and ready for business, the DRC showcases a vast landscape teeming with limitless opportunities for ambitious Nigerian tech startups ready to expand their horizons. As we look forward to the Congo Business Summit in October at Pullman Kinshasa Grand Hotel, I encourage Nigerian tech startups to explore the untapped potential the DRC has to offer in the heart of Africa.

I am convinced that Nigerian tech startups have the potential to forge innovative paths, transform industries, create value, and ignite sustainable development across borders. The future is not just a distant dream, but an immediate and vibrant reality, filled with limitless possibilities, echoing from the heart of Africa.

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