By Chinedu James
Nigerian government is committed to providing an enabling environment for technology and innovation to thrive across the country, Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated.
Osinbajo expressed this during his visit to Ventures Platform Hub, Abuja in the company of the British Secretary for Africa and International, Rt. Hon. Harriet Baldwin.
Aware of the difficulties faced by startups and local businesses, Osinbajo assured of government’s support for startups while stating that the growth of tech startups remains top of the administration’s agenda.
He commended the resilience and creativity displayed by most startups at a time when the country faced a recession. This he noted speaks volumes of the entrepreneurial drive and talent inherent within the young guns.
“The fact is that a lot of these entrepreneurs actually started while we were in a recession and it is not just evidence of their resilience, hard work and creativity; but also, the fact that there is so much opportunity and so much talent here; and there is so much that can be done.
“I think just looking at what happened with some of the startups that we have seen today, many of them actually started in the recession, while the recession was on and they proved by just the number of jobs they created and the value and wealth they have created, that this is really the future starting today.
“They’ve done so much work and innovation, so for us it is a no-brainer, why the Federal Government is supporting technology hubs; because obviously what we need to do is to create the right environment for these technology companies and for innovation to thrive, which is why we have started up first with the creativity and technology advisory group,” said Osinbajo.
Notable among the administration’s recent strides in accelerating growth within the tech and innovation industry is the Vice President tour of tech companies and startups in Lagos and the inauguration of the tech advisory council which is part of the Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017.
Osinbajo who noted that most members of the Council are young and creative individuals expressed confidence in their ability to create policies that will engender growth within the tech ecosystem as well as boost the country’s economy.
“Many of these young startups are members of these creativity and technology advisory group where they help to formulate policy with federal government policy makers. So, they help also to formulate policy in many of these new areas, especially in Fintech, which are some of the new areas where we need to formulate new policies.
“I think that, again, underscores the fact that technology, especially the startups that we are seeing, is the future of business in Nigeria and will lead us to the Nigeria, which is an excellent place to do a lot of very creative and innovative things. We have seen so much already, I think we are in a very good place to make the real difference in those things that we want to see,” said Osinbajo.
The Vice President expressed gratitude to the UK government for their contributions towards sustainable development in Nigeria and within the African region.
“I just want to say a very big thank you to the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for all the great support that we are getting and to say that, as they say, ‘the sky is no longer the limit’ because technology seems to have gone way beyond the skies and we are very prepared as a government to support innovation in every way,” said Osinbajo.
Baldwin in her remark was full of praise for the thriving tech ecosystem in Nigeria and assured of more investment because of the potentials and wealth creation capacity of the tech industry.