The World Bank has provided US$3 million in funding to six technology and innovation hubs across Nigeria to boost the government’s plan of using tech to develop its economy.
That is according to the country’s vice president Yemi Osinbajo, speaking while opening the TechnoExpo in Abuja.
In 2016 Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari hosted the first Aso Villa Demo Day, showcasing innovative tech startups from across the country, with the World Bank having since then supported a number of those innovators with grants totalling around US$3million.
Osinbajo said the first tranche of that funding had already been disbursed, but that the World Bank was going further with its support for the country’s tech scene.
“I am pleased to note that the World Bank is committing an additional US$3 million in funding for six existing technology and innovation hubs across Nigeria,” he said.
“In addition, the Federal Government’s plan to strengthen the technology and innovation ecosystem by supporting the development of new innovation hubs, in partnership with the private sector, is well on course. We have recently concluded a competitive selection process for the private sector entities that will implement and manage the hubs. Each of these hubs will focus on solving the market challenges peculiar to the region of the country in which it is located.”
The vice president said, with the right environment and policy support, there was no limit to how far Nigerian innovation could go.
“Nigeria is a land hungry for innovation. Every challenge that we face – in terms of security, infrastructure deficit, financial inclusion, and so on – is a natural laboratory for the manifestation of ground-breaking homegrown innovation,” he said.
Osinbajo also said the Nigerian government is collaborating with a host of partners, including the Bank of Industry and CivicHub, to run a presidential technology innovation challenge in all Nigerian universities.