Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, says Nigeria must provide an enabling environment for indigenous innovation and entrepreneurship in its quest to attain a digital economy.
Pantami said this at Stakeholders Review and Validation Workshop of the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy (NDIEP) in Abuja on Thursday.
The theme of the workshop was“Developing an Enabling Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy”.
He said that encouraging local innovation and entrepreneurship will ensure that the country become a producer and not a consumer nation.
“NDIEP focuses on providing an enabling environment for indigenous innovation to thrive.
“In Nigeria we have many potential to produce and deploy what we need and the government is working on providing the enabling environment by introducing the NDIEP.
“When we support our innovators and entrepreneurs,they will increase our products and position Nigerian goods for more exports,” Pantami said.
The minister added that the government wanted to engage Information and Communication Technology (ICT) hubs and startups by evaluating their innovations towards providing support.
He advised young innovators to be consistent and focused,adding that the path to being an innovator was demanding.
“The policy is designed to help us create an enabling environment to start and grow IDEs in Nigeria.
“By implementing the policy,we will create the IDE mindset and skill set and learn how to do business in our communities,” he said.
The director general said that IDEs such as jumia created over 5,000 jobs in 2012 when it was established,while the value grew to one billion dollars in three years.
He recalled that Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm predicted that in 2025, jumia and other potential unicorn companies can create three million jobs in Africa.
“Out of 615 unicorn companies in the world, only three are in Africa,two in South Africa and one in Nigeria. America has 265,China 204,UK 24 and India 21,” he said.
Inuwa said that growing unicorn companies was about putting in place government policies that drive digital transformation and ensure the delivery of new customer value proposition using digital technology and the innovation ecosystem.
He said that government was committed to mentoring startups to develop the innovation ecosystem and translate ideas into products for commercialisation.
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa