FG unveils ambitious plan, targets $5bn for ICT firms, to boost telecom access

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced a comprehensive strategy aimed at advancing the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and enhancing telecom access across the country.

The key components of this plan include equipping three million Nigerians with tech skills over the next four years, supporting startups to secure annual funding rounds totaling $5 billion by 2027, and improving access to ICT services in rural areas by a minimum of 40 percent.

Dr. Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, revealed these initiatives on Monday while presenting his vision for the ministry in a document titled ‘Accelerating our collective prosperity through technical efficiency: A strategic plan for the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation & Digital Economy.’

In the context of the rapidly evolving global technology landscape, Dr. Tijani emphasized the critical importance of innovation, entrepreneurship, and access to capital for fostering a robust digital economy. He underscored the ministry’s primary objective, which is to stimulate the growth and sustainability of startups, particularly those developing innovative solutions for key sectors of the economy.

Dr. Tijani stated, “Recognising the critical role of patient capital in the growth of startups, we are committed to increasing the local availability of patient capital. Our intent is to create an environment for startups to raise the funding they require to thrive locally and promote the domiciliation of startups within our nation.”

As a measure of success, the minister articulated an ambitious target: “Increase capital raised by Nigerian tech startups 50 per cent year-on-year from $1bn/yr in 2022 to $5bn/yr in 2027.”

In 2022, Nigerian startups managed to raise $1.2 billion, according to Africa The Big Deal (an African funding data insight firm). African startups collectively raised $5.4 billion in the same year.

Recognizing the vital role of knowledge in driving innovation and economic growth, as well as enhancing competitiveness and productivity, Dr. Tijani affirmed, “Our commitment to talent development is unwavering. We have set an ambitious goal to train three million early to mid-career technical talents over the next four years. These trainings will cover tech-enabled and tech-adjacent skills, core tech competencies, and advanced proficiencies. This holistic approach is designed to empower our workforce to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape.”

He also revealed that government’s objective is to retain at least 1.5 million of these trained talents within the local workforce while facilitating opportunities for the remaining 1.5 million to excel in the global talent marketplace, preferably through remote work opportunities.