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Finance - News around Africa - Profiles - April 8, 2020

Nigeria to Provide Affordable Internet for Tech Start-ups Amid Lockdown

  • The Nigerian Federal Government has set up a committee to provide affordable internet access to selected startups in the country during the Covid-19 lockdown.
  • This was kickstarted by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
  • The Initiative aims to support tech startups providing essential services in this period of Covid-19 lockdown in the country.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has set up a committee to choose some tech start-ups that would be provided with affordable internet access during lockdown across major cities in the country. This was confirmed by the Chairman of the committee, Tomi Davies, who is also President of the African Business Angels Network (ABAN).

Davies explained in an interview that the government is planning to intervene in the operation of tech startups struggling Coronavirus lockdown.

According to him, the special project was initiated by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), an agency that develops and regulates information technology in Nigeria. The aim is to find tech startups that might engage in the restriction of critical services.

To avoid shutting down tech startups that could be useful in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, NITDA declared that tech startups will apply for permits to be issued from a compiled list of startups whose activity would not be impacted by the lockdown.

The Davies led-committee was established to advise the government on measures of action. This involves other tech leaders, such as Amal Hassan, CEO of Outsource Global; Bosun Tijani, CCHub’s CEO; Juliet Anammah, Head of International Relations, Jumia Group; Kola Aina, and Ventures Platform Founder; Musa Ali Baba.


Others in the group include CEO of Teasy Pay; Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, CoFounder of Andela and Flutterwave; Collins Onuegbu, CEO of Signal Alliance; and Dr Kalli Zannah, Special Assistant to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

The committee has already submitted its report, and according to Davies, is hoping the government will act fast on its recommendations.

Davies told stated that the committee had been charged with designing and implementing effective strategies for providing affordable internet connectivity and alternative power to technology industry individuals and businesses who now need to operate from home.

“A framework to facilitate access to financing for technology and technology-enabled ventures through the crisis; modalities for encouraging the development and adoption of programs and policies to support digital technology from the Nigerian technology ecosystem.

This is in line with the ‘Work From Home’ directives of the Federal Government, and a support program for Innovation Hubs to facilitate virtual access to resources by startups during the work-from-home period as well as other forms of support the hubs may require to be sustainable through the COVID 19 Crisis.”

The committee which began deliberations on the 1st of April, the same day of its inauguration, and submitted its report on the 3rd of April. Four subcommittees were created from the advisory committee, Davies said, with members assigned to discuss Business Continuity, Finance, Policy and Hubs, in line with the commitment of Nigeria to provide affordable internet access and alternative power for startups the country amid the lockdown.

“The results of these teams’ deliberations and documentation has been aggregated into a confidential report by the Chairman and Secretary who have also continuously engaged with the various technology stakeholder groups available to identify other critical challenges and devise appropriate resolution approaches.

The report was submitted to the DG on Friday, 3rd April and implementation of some of our recommendations has already state,” Davies added.

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