Udora Orizu in Abuja
The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has promised to make Nigeria’s economy the most innovative in Africa if elected as the next president in the forthcoming polls.
In a statement issued yesterday, she said that if well-managed, Nigeria’s economy would outshine that of its contemporaries in Africa.
The ACPN presidential candidate said this was achievable through the creation of a special fund for science and technology and reformation of key financial institutions.
According to her, “We will be creating a $1 billion Science, Technology and Innovation ((STI) fund to ensure that science, technology and innovation become 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 said.
Ezekwesili also said policies that would ensure increase of technology start-ups in the country by at least 500 per cent in the next four years would be designed and implemented.“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,” she said.
“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,” the AVPN flag bearer said.
Ezekwesili added, “360,000 persons will be impacted directly through this programme; N1.5m Nigerians will be indirect beneficiaries. This plan is costed at N100bn, which will be financed by the STI Fund, which is in turn financed from the oil subsidy savings.”