The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced that it has secured access to approximately $500 million in funding to initiate a local funding programme for the digital economy. The programme is aimed at boosting innovation and entrepreneurship within the country’s thriving digital sector.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr. Bosun Tijani, disclosed this at a dinner in partnership with the World Bank in Abuja on Friday. He said that the government was committed to keeping the funds within Nigeria’s borders and ensuring that they benefit authentic Nigerian businesses.
“We want to ensure that those businesses that will benefit are true, real Nigerian businesses,” he said. He added that the government would partner with the Bank of Industry (BoI) to manage and invest in the businesses.
Tijani also stated that the initial $500 million investment was just the beginning and that the government would leverage the funds to attract more investors and expand the resources available to support Nigerian innovators.
“The government is not just going to put in half a billion and that’s it; it can actually bring more investors on board. This strategy aims to augment the resources available to support Nigerian innovators. The overarching goal is to harness these funds to attract further investments and broaden the support system for local entrepreneurs,” he said.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, reaffirmed the organisation’s dedication to poverty alleviation, improved living standards, and job creation, especially for Nigeria’s youth. He underlined the potential of digital technologies in driving transformation and identified two key areas of collaboration with Nigeria.
Chaudhuri stressed the foundational role of a digital national ID in facilitating this transformation, stating, “Our main mission here in Nigeria is to eliminate poverty, make lives better, and create jobs for all Nigerian youth. One of the areas that we think has the greatest potential is the area of using digital technologies to transform.”
He also revealed that the World Bank was collaborating with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure the successful rollout and registration of digital national IDs for all Nigerians. The ambitious target is to provide at least 148 million people of working age with a digital national ID by the middle of next year, marking a significant step towards inclusion and accessibility.
“The second is helping Nigeria lead the broadband infrastructure for broadband connectivity,” Chaudhuri added. He said that the World Bank was working with the government and other partners to improve the quality and affordability of internet services in Nigeria. He expressed optimism that these initiatives would unlock new opportunities and unleash the potential of Nigeria’s digital economy.