A stakeholder’s dialogue on the digital economy was held in Nigeria on October 18, 2022, to discuss ways to foster closer, continuous collaborations between public and private sector stakeholders in the country. The workshop was attended by a diverse group of stakeholders, including:
Digital inclusion start-ups,
Civil society organizations, and
Professional bodies in the ICT sector.
The workshop was designed to collaborate and develop actionable solutions to support the implementation of the Nigerian Digital Economy Policy and Roadmap (NDEPS). The keynote speakers and discussions focused on various topics, such as the national and state adoption of the Nigerian start-up Act, the development of a sustainable digital economy, digital literacy and skills, and the impact of emerging technologies on society.
The participants were divided into groups to discuss and develop solutions related to the four pillars of the NDEPS and its Roadmap, which included
Digital society and emerging technologies,
Indigenous content development and adoption, and
Digital services development and promotion.
Mr. Ololade Otayemi (CEO, The Orbra Company) as the Technical Implementation Consultant for the project, brought a wealth of experience and expertise to the planning and execution of the workshop. He was responsible for overseeing the technical aspects of the project, such as ensuring that the necessary infrastructure was in place to support the event.
In addition to his technical role, Mr Otayemi was also involved in the conceptualization and development of the workshop. He worked closely with the other stakeholders to create the concept notes, training manuals, and agendas that formed the basis of the workshop discussions. His extensive knowledge of the digital industry and his ability to anticipate and address potential challenges were invaluable assets to the planning process.
Throughout the workshop, Mr Otayemi continued to play a key role, providing technical guidance and support to the participants and ensuring that the event ran smoothly. His dedication to the project and his commitment to creating a sustainable digital economy in Nigeria were evident throughout the workshop and were instrumental in its success.
During the workshop, participants identified several challenges to the growth of the digital economy in Nigeria, including the non-adoption of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA) by most Nigerian states and the hindrance of tech-enabled businesses by various regulations, policies, and laws. Other challenges included multiple taxation, excessive government requirements for establishing businesses, CAC yearly maintenance fees for startups, lack of training and knowledge in the educational system, and the inability of the Nigerian broadband plan to achieve 80% broadband penetration.
To address these challenges, participants recommended several solutions, including the adoption of the Startup bill at the state level in Nigeria, to be assigned to an agency such as NITDA (National Information Technology Development Agency) for regulation and ensuring the bill’s focus on benefiting the state. Sensitization, monitoring and evaluation, as well as a policy alliance and coordination for the development and interpretation of governmental laws, were also suggested.
Participants also suggested tax breaks for startups which means allowing them to operate for a period of time before paying taxes to attract foreign investment. Collaboration between public and private sectors in research, innovation, and development was also identified as essential to the growth of the digital economy.
Policy initiatives should be accompanied by workable plans, and indigenous and local developments and innovations should be recognized and accredited through grants and matching funds. Finally, participants suggested the implementation of a growth management structure through collaboration between the private and public sectors to guide startups and provide quality assurance.
The workshop highlighted the need for continuous collaborations between public and private sector stakeholders for the growth of Nigeria’s digital economy. By identifying the challenges and recommending solutions, participants have taken the first step towards addressing these issues and creating a sustainable digital economy in Nigeria. It is essential that these recommendations are taken seriously and implemented to create a conducive environment for the growth of the digital economy.