The federal government of Nigeria has secured access to approximately $500m in funding to initiate a local funding programme to boost innovation and entrepreneurship within the country’s digital sector.
Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, made this announcement at a dinner organised in his honour in partnership with the World Bank in Abuja on Friday. The World Bank will also collaborate with the NIMC to roll out digital national IDs for 148m Nigerians by June 2024, ThisDay reports
At the dinner, the minister revealed the government’s plan to domicile local funding in Nigeria and ensure that it benefits true Nigerian businesses, adding that it will be collaborating with the Bank of Industry.
How FG plans to start local funding with $500m
The minister expressed his desire to work with firms that will ensure that Nigerian businesses would benefit from the funds and that more investors are brought to the table to increase the money available to local businesses that operate in the digital sector.
“So, we’ve got access to about half a billion dollars to start local funding,” Bosun Tijani said.
“Part of my responsibilities is working with BOI to ensure that we domicile that funding locally in Nigeria, work with firms who manage and invest in businesses to ensure that those businesses that will benefit are true, real Nigerian businesses.
“So, the government is not just going to put half a billion and that’s it, it can actually bring more investors to heart as we have more money more of our innovators can have access to resources.”
World Bank to collaborate with NIMC to roll out national IDs for Nigerians.
Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, also reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to eradicating poverty, improving lives and creating job opportunities for the country’s youth at the dinner on Friday.
Chaudhuri explained that it is essential to leverage digital technologies to drive transformation. He also outlined two key areas of partnership with Nigeria to achieve these goals, emphasizing the importance of a digital national ID as the foundation for digital transformation, adding that the World Bank is collaborating with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure the successful rollout and registration of digital national IDs for all Nigerians.
The World Bank official said the 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.
“Our main mission here in Nigeria is to eliminate poverty, make lives better, 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. Now to do that it begins with having this digital national ID.
“So one of the main partnerships we have is working with NIMC to ensure the rollout of the registration so that all 213/220million Nigerians have a digital national ID, beginning of course with all people of working age and I think the target for that is at least 148 million people by the middle of next year.
“The second is helping Nigeria lead the broadband infrastructure for broadband connectivity because, without broadband connectivity, digital technologies will lead to a digital divide. So their support has been for good kinds of policies and regulations that will help invite private investment into this space and then fibre optic cables.
“One thing, for example, working with states is to persuade states to reduce the right of way fees and fiber. Cable operators have to pay more when they’re getting the land to lay the cable. All that is like the foundations and real potential comes from once you have the national ID, all the technologies that apps that can be built on the weather to bring services to people, to people where they get people access to finance that all of that needs skills.
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