By Teslim Olawore
The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has unveiled her plans for Nigerians in the new year, one of which is to make Nigeria’s economy the most innovative in the entire Africa as soon as she emerges President.
In a press statement released on Tuesday, she stated that if well-managed, Nigeria’s economy would surpass that of its contemporaries in Africa. The ACPN presidential candidate said that this was accomplishable through the creation of a special fund for science and technology and creation of key financial institutions.
Ezekwesili said, “We will be creating a $1bn Science, Technology and Innovation fund to ensure that science, technology and innovation becomes the enabler for socio-economic development and structural transformation.
“The goal is to kick-start the process of becoming Africa’s number one innovation and knowledge economy. The STI fund will support the building of a robust national innovation system, carry out reforms and re-organisation of existing institutions, and fund the scale-up of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises and start-ups in the technology space, research and development, knowledge transfer, among others. The fund will function as a partnership between the government and the private sector.”
She also said policies that would pave way for the increase of technology start-ups in the country by at least 500 per cent in the next four years would be made and implemented.
The presidential candidate said, “We will set up an Information and Communications Technology programme with a focus on ensuring Nigerians are growing in the remote working and outsourcing global market. The plan will be to create centres of ICT advancement in all states with a focus on an average of 10,000 developers in each state.”
“Simultaneously, a group of technology ambassadors will be engaging global sourcing centres, providing them with comparative advantage of opening or expanding current operations in Nigeria. The ICT programme will partner the private sector in investing in real estate that allows remote tech workers involved in tech development, data science, Artificial Intelligence and emerging technologies to comfortably work.”
She added that 360,000 persons will be impacted directly through the programme, and N1.5m Nigerians will benefit from the programme indirectly. She said the plan is costed at around N100bn, which will be financed by the STI Fund, which is in turn financed from the oil subsidy savings.