The Nigerian Senate has passed the Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB), which is aimed at deepening the country’s technology ecosystem and enabling the sector.
The Presidency and leaders of the Nigerian technology industry have worked on the bill, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council in December and sent to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to a letter from the president accompanying the bill, the aim is to position Nigeria’s startup ecosystem as the leading one in Africa. The full bill is available to the public here, while a summary can be found here.
The bill was passed by the Senate last week, it will move into the House of Representatives, where it will pass through three readings. Once agreement has been obtained there, it only needs presidential assent to become law.
The Bill has come about through close collaboration between the Presidency, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigerian Export and Promotion Council and wider government bodies, with almost 300 volunteers and private sector players participating, including VC firms Future Africa and Ventures Platform.
“The NSB is one among a series of key activities the Presidency is using to drive the building of a more sustainable ecosystem for young people in Nigeria to thrive and scale,” said Oswald Osaretin Guobadia, senior special assistant to the President on Digital Transformation and the NSB Lead.
The first specific startup law globally was passed in Italy in 2012, and Tunisia and Senegal were the first two African countries to enact them. A host of countries, including Mali, Ghana, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Kenya, are at varying stages of enactment.