Nigeria Has Potential to Become World Leader in Digital Economy – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said Nigeria has the requisite talents, creativity and acumen to become a world leader in the digital economy.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this yesterday at this year’s Nigeria Digital Economy Summit (NDES) with the theme “Web 3.0, Blockchain & DeFi: Impact on Africa’s Digital Economy.”

He observed that with the right approach and policy, as well as the country’s human capital and potential, “we can actually become world leaders in digital technology in all its various ramifications.”

Delving into the different levels of progress recorded since the advent of the use of the Web on a large and global scale since Web 1 in 1989, Prof. Osinbajo who was the special guest of honour and keynote speaker at the event, highlighted the future of technology, digital economy and what it means globally but especially for Nigeria.

“A whole new world is unfolding before our very eyes, unlike Web 1 and 2 where we were relatively disadvantaged,” he said.

Osinbajo further noted that “We have already shown that we have the talent, creativity and acumen to build and grow major tech companies. At the last count, we have 6 unicorns and many more on the way. But we must spend time on the development of digital skills.”

He added that both sectors must find ways to ensure “policy is way ahead for development.”

According to him, “we must think through and develop appropriate policies and regulations that promote, rather than inhibit, innovation and commerce. We can be world leaders in the Web 3 revolution. The only limit is our vision.”

Using examples such as the technology-driven Growth platform by the Bank of Industry, and the implementation of the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP), one of the schemes under the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), Osinbajo observed that the technology platform deployed in the implementation of the microcredit schemes such as TraderMoni and MarketMoni was built by Eyowo, a local Nigerian tech company.

“Web 3 will also mean that the digitisation of government’s services will come with more options, government agencies can then be smarter, faster and more efficient in delivering their services.

“But I think most importantly, digitising government processes and services is a sleeping commercial giant. The whole range of government services will provide several opportunities for innovation,” Prof. Osinbajo observed.

Prof. Osinbajo also noted the category of licences created and made available to some FinTech companies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the past few years as a significant example of how government policy can drive innovation and economic growth.

Aside from Vice President Osinbajo, the event also featured remarks from the convener of the Summit and founder/CEO of the Foresight Group, Mr. Lanre Osibona; a representative of Bank of Industry (BOI), Mr Seun Tubi, as well as Silicon Valley investor, Director, Plug & Play, Abu Dhabi & Middle East, Babak Ahmadzadeh.

In his remarks, Osibona, who was previously senior special assistant for Information and Communications Technology in the Buhari Administration noted that collaboration was key to implementing successful digital transformation strategies.

“The key to achieving real change lies in actualising the true potential of our youth and preparing them to think and act for a future better than their past. They can learn from previous mistakes and build a better world for themselves and their children. Let us all work together towards using technology to build a sustainable Nigeria for future generations to come,” Osibona stated.

The Nigeria Digital Economy Summit (NDES) is a privately funded public-private partnership forum to support Nigeria’s digital transformation into a globally leading digital economy.

This category of banking licences accessible to fintech companies are at a cheaper rate when compared to the cost of actual traditional banking licenses by the CBN, the VP disclosed.


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