The European Union (EU) on Monday announced a €820million digital economy package for Nigeria over the next three years, under its Global Gateway Initiative.
Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Ms. Margrethe Vestager, who is currently on a working visit to Nigeria, made the announcement during an interaction with the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami at the Digital Economy Complex in Abuja, Monday.
Vestager said the package will help enhance secure connectivity, digitalise public services, support entrepreneurship and build digital skills, while developing a human-centric, democratic governance framework for technology.
She enumerated the Union’s intervention in the sector to include; Digital Infrastructure Investments, Digitalisation of Public Services, Digital Entrepreneurship, Digital Skills and Digital Governance.
According to her, Nigeria has potential for digitalisation, hence the need to continue to partner the European Union on business opportunities, investments and other developmental issues.
“Nigeria has immense potential for digitalisation and with a combination of €160 million in grants and €660 million in loans, the European Union aims to comprehensively support Nigeria’s digitalization strategy,”
In his reponse, Dr Pantami expressed his delight and appreciation for the intervention, and reiterated the Federal Government’s willingness to partner with the European Union.
He expressed the Federal Government’s appreciation to the EU and noted that when organisations work together, so much can be achieved.
“Africa has always looked up to Europe in the area of technological advancements and this partnership is a welcome development that will project the digitalisation aspirations of our country.
Emphasizing on digital entrepreneurship as the major crux of his ministry’s mandate, Pantami said, “This partnership with regards to digital entrepreneurship will address the challenge of unemployment and unemployability alongside the Nigeria Startup Bill which also aims to address a myriad of issues within the ecosystem.”
He further informed the delegation that Nigeria’s hopes of achieving paperless office by 2030 is on track, taking into cognizance the rate at which public institutions are embracing the digital economy drive.
The European Union’s Global Gateway Initiative is a €300 billion European Strategy to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport and strengthen health, education and research systems across the world.