In a similar fashion as the one before it, the administration of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari seems primed to play an active role in the country’s growing startup ecosystem.
The Nigerian Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo says the administration plans to build more technology hubs across the country, plausibly based on the Yaba model.
“We are looking at developing existing hubs and to see how we can empower those who are already working in the various ICT hubs,’’ Vanguard quotes Mr. Osinbajo as saying earlier in the week while signing a MoU between the Nigerian government and Huawei Technologies on the ‘’ICT for Change Empowerment Programme’’.
According to Vanguard, the VP said creating these hubs is one of the administration’s “cardinal objectives”.
The Goodluck Jonathan administration (through activities of its Communication Technology minister, Omobola Johnson) made valuable adds to the ecosystem. The iDeahub and a $15 million ICT innovation fund are its most visible legacy.
It was the first time the government would turn its sight to the ecosystem and the present administration appears to be upping its involvement.
The November release of the ministerial list which removed the Communication Technology minister portfolio (replacing it with two portfolios of Minister of Communication and Minister of Science and Technology) left a few ecosystem watchers confused and worried about the administration’s stance on the ecosystem.
So is e-commerce under 'Minister of Science and Technology' or under 'Minister of Communication'?
— Mark Essien (@markessien) November 11, 2015
This foreboding should begin to give way to a confidence in the government’s interest in the ecosystem. The Federal Ministry of Communications (and not the Ministry of Science and Technology), has filled the space previously occupied by the of Ministry of Communication Technology.
Indeed, the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu – a self-professed newbie into the technology scene who trained as a Lawyer – has expressed interest in learning all he can about ecosystem from actors in the industry. He said so at the recently held A4AI coalition event in Lagos where the former ICT minister, Omobola Johnson was also present, and stakeholders discussed ways to drive down the cost of internet in Nigeria.
It’s too early to know if this is a true commitment (that will be accompanied by actionable plans) or a throwaway promise, but it’s interesting to know the government is at least looking in this direction.
Image via: Telegraph