The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) has revealed that Nigeria has the potentials of becoming an exporting nation if the country leverages on the various innovations her youths are coming up with and are being deployed to cater for the needs of the nation.
The Minister disclosed this today in Abuja at the stakeholders Review Workshop on National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy with the theme “Developing an Enabling Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”
Dr Pantami maintained that the responsibility of the ministry is to work on policies that will remove the obstacles and the barriers to the development of the country adding that National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy is aimed at providing an enabling environment for indigenous innovations to thrive.
He said, “We want to engage our start-ups, ICT hubs all over the country, identify their major challenges and see how government can provide an enabling environment for them to be very successful and that is the idea behind this policy.
The Minster noted that from his engagement at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT) Boston, he realised that a nation’s digital economy success relies on two elements – on indigenous digital innovation and indigenous entrepreneurship.
“These are the two elements that will make the country a producing nation instead of a consuming nation. It is because of this I feel this is the right time to work on the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship policy,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE said the objective of the policy produced is to help “institutionalised digital entrepreneurship in our country in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic diversification agenda.”
While assuring that the implementation of the policy would create enabling environment for the growth of Innovation Driven Enterprise, (IDE), the DG noted that policy would also create IDE mind-set and skillset which would support learning how to do business in our communities. “Part of it is the mentorship to develop an ecosystem because you cannot be a successful entrepreneur in isolation,” he added.
He decried that out of 615 unicorn companies in the world, only three are from Africa and one in Nigeria in particular adding that with the proper implementation of the policy, IDE would become a “game-changer in terms of job and wealth creation.
He said, “We have seen an IDE (Jumia) that created more than 5,000 direct jobs and grew to more than 1B USD valuation within three years. Boston Consulting Group projected that by 2025, Jumia and other potential unicorn companies could create more than three million jobs in Africa.
Mallam Abdullahi said the global COVID-19 pandemic has made the implementation of the policy imperative because it has accelerated the need for innovative ideas more than before.
“Indeed, there will never be a more perfect time to have this policy than now. We are passing through a time of unprecedented crisis. A quadruple crisis started with a health crisis, which led to the economic crisis that led to the humanitarian crisis and the mental health crisis”, he submitted.