Tijani Eyes Increase in Capital Inflows for Nigerian Startups

September 18, 2023
Nigerian startups

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Mr Bosun Tijani, has said that he is targeting an increase in ailing Foreign Direct Inflows (FDIs) specifically to Nigerian startups.

According to the Minister, who is in the United States alongside President Bola Tinubu for the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) ongoing in New York, “The agenda set forth by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, champions economic diversification powered by technological applications. Our mission at the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy is clear – catalyse the productivity of critical sectors using technology.”

“To this end, we are in pursuit of partnerships that can increase capital inflow to Nigerian startups via Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), bolstering our entrepreneurial ecosystem and setting the stage for sustainable growth,” he said in a statement on Monday.

Over the last few quarters, Nigeria’s capital inflows have taken a hit. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), capital importation into Nigeria in the first three months of 2023 stood at $1.13 billion, as it dropped 28 per cent compared to $1.57 3 billion recorded in the same period of last year.

Particularly, FDIs contributed just $47.60 million or 4.2 per cent in the first quarter. This represented a 41.8 per cent slide versus $81.72 million on record in Q4 2022.

Nigeria’s startups were not exempt from this slowdown in funding as the Nigerian startups were only able to raise $470 million between July 2022 and June 2023. For context, Nigeria raised $2 billion between July 2021 and June 2022. This outcome is a result of a wider global slowdown.

Mr Tijani also noted that the country will be seeking to position Nigeria as a hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Training. He noted that, “Nigeria brims with a vibrant pool of talent, potential and innovation. We aspire to put Nigeria on the global map as a premier destination for AI model training.

“Not only does this promise significant job creation, but it also emphasises our commitment to enhancing the inclusivity and robustness of AI datasets. We envision capturing the nuances of dark data from the global south, ensuring that AI solutions resonate with a diverse spectrum of lived experiences.”

The Minister also added that targets will be placed on expanding the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) to bridge the digital divide.

“We seek partnerships that can boost the USPF. Our goal is to connect a vast number of unserved and underserved communities in Nigeria, fostering inclusivity and ensuring that every Nigerian benefits from the digital revolution.

“By collaborating with global leaders and stakeholders, we aim to bring forth a brighter, digital and inclusive future for Nigeria. It is an opportunity to reinforce our global ties, understand emerging trends and co-design pathways that can elevate the prosperity of our nation,” he added.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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