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Nigeria receives $500m for Digital Innovation

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital industry will be strengthened.

Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, has revealed that the nation has obtained access to nearly half a billion dollars in funds in order to launch a local innovation funding program. According to him, the purpose of this program was to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurial endeavours inside the country’s digital industry. On Friday evening in Abuja, the minister made this announcement while speaking at a dinner hosted in partnership with the World Bank.

He highlighted the government’s commitment to retaining the funds within the borders of Nigeria and ensuring that the advantages of the funds were routed towards genuine Nigerian enterprises. To accomplish this goal, he emphasised plans to form a partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI), stating that they want to make certain that the businesses that would be aided are genuine, authentic Nigerian businesses. The decision to localise the funds was made with the intention of fostering domestic businesses, which would, in turn, contribute to the progress of the nation’s economy.

Poverty will be eradicated while creating more job opportunities.

Assuring the general public that the initial investment was just the beginning, Tijani asserted that the government is not simply going to contribute half a billion dollars, and that’s it; it can actually attract other investors on board. The expansion of the resources that are at the disposal of Nigerian innovators is the primary objective of this strategy. According to him, the overriding objective is to use these funds to increase the scope of the support system for local businesses and to entice additional investments.

In the wake of this latest development, Shubham Chaudhuri, who is the Country Director for the World Bank in Nigeria, underlined the organization’s steadfast commitment to working towards the eradication of poverty. In addition, they want to boost the level of living in Nigeria and increase the number of job opportunities, particularly for the country’s younger population. Chaudhuri highlighted the potential of digital technology in promoting transformation and outlined two critical areas of partnership with Nigeria.

Digital national ID will be issued to at least 148 million individuals.

The major goal in Nigeria, according to Chaudhuri, is to get rid of poverty, improve people’s lives, and provide all young people in Nigeria a chance to find gainful employment; therefore, he emphasised the crucial role of a digital national ID in making this change possible. In their view, one of the most promising areas is the application of digital technologies to existing problems. He also said that the World Bank is working with Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission to facilitate the country’s nationwide rollout of digital national IDs and subsequent registration of all citizens.

As a substantial advance towards both inclusiveness and accessibility, the ambitious goal is to issue a digital national ID to at least 148 million individuals of working age by the middle of the following year. The second is to assist Nigeria in becoming a leader in the broadband infrastructure for broadband connection, Chaudhuri explained further. He made the point that the promise of digital technology could result in a digital divide if people do not have access to broadband connectivity.

Private investment in this industry is also encouraged.

Lastly, the World Bank is providing support in a variety of ways, including pushing for advantageous policies and regulations to promote private investment in this industry, addressing practical difficulties such as cutting right-of-way costs for fibre optic cable operators and addressing other practical concerns. Once the infrastructure is in position, he highlighted the critical role that the development of skills plays in enabling the development of innovative applications and services that are to the benefit of the population.

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