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Nigeria poised to lead Africa in digital technology, Tinubu assures Meta boss

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

 

President Bola Tinubu has said his administration is keeping up investments in digital technology to support small businesses viability, increase opportunities throughout industry, and position Nigeria as the epicentre of information and communications technology (ICT) in Africa.

The president gave the assurance,when he received a delegation from Meta Platforms Incorporated, led by Nick Clegg, former UK deputy prime minister and Meta’s president of Global Affairs, at the State House in Abuja, yesterday.

According to him, Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in this age of technological advancements; hence, his administration is opening up channels of opportunities in information and communications technology, deepening capacity, and fostering partnerships.

In view of his administration’s 3MTT programme, which is training three million Nigerian youths in digital technology and essential skills before deploying them to innovation hubs across the nation, Tinubu said Nigerian youths are the most critical asset in Nigeria’s arsenal as it moves to achieve digital economic expansion.

“For us in Nigeria, we have a vibrant, gifted and resourceful youth population. Recognising that the future is most likely to be AI-enabled, we have to prepare our youths and make them ready to compete and participate in the global economy.

“I can assure you Nigeria is open for business. We want to lead the African continent in digital technology. Data is valuable to our development. We are ready to cooperate on technological advancements. It is the only way to go. We need a collaboration that will be a win-win for all,” he said.

President Tinubu, while emphasising the importance of technology in driving small businesses, assured he is committed to ensuring technology is deployed, adapted, enhanced, and used to catalyse growth across a vast majority of micro businesses, spurring mass prosperity down the line.

“What interests me is the use of technology in the development of small businesses. We need to make the business environment more conducive for you and more profitable for us as well. I hope we can collaborate and continue to promote our mutual interests,” he said.

Earlier in his remarks, Clegg thanked the president for an executive order he issued, which enabled the landing of the Meta-backed deep-sea cable in Nigeria.

“It is an extraordinary infrastructure project. When it comes on stream in the first quarter of 2025, it will be twice as much as the capacity of all subsea cables that exist. We buried the cable 50 per cent deeper than any other subsea cables under the seabed. It is more powerful and more extensive in terms of its geographical connectivity. It could yield up to 37 billion dollars worth of increase in economic activity in the next two or three years across the African continent,” he said.

He added that Meta will introduce in June 2024 a feature on its Instagram app that will allow Nigerian creators to monetize their content to enable them earn a living using the app. “We have a lot to do with Nigeria to deepen partnerships.”

Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, said Meta platforms are critical platforms in Nigeria, and as such opportunities for partnerships and engagement are essential to promoting development in the digital economy sector.

“We must continue to engage to create opportunities for our people so they can also share in global prosperity. Digital technology is an opportunity to connect Africa to contribute to the development of the world,” he said.

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