At a glance
The Nigerian government takes a holistic view of digital transformation in terms of its opportunities and potential as well as its risks. Nevertheless, it has so far had only limited success in concrete implementation due to a lack of prerequisites in the supply of electricity as well as basic telecommunications and IT infrastructure.
At the same time, unemployment has risen sharply in recent years – especially among youths and young adults, one third of whom currently have no regular employment. Even though many teachers and students have a high affinity for digital applications, the country has not yet succeeded to provide enough digital learning opportunities in order to adequately prepare young graduates for the digital job market. Foreign companies are increasingly filling this gap by establishing parallel training structures and thus creating a lock-in effect that can cause major problems for the public education system in the long term.
According to the Ministry of Science, there is also room for improvement in the area of innovation promotion. This area is developed by the National Board for Technology Incubation and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion.
At the same time, the digital entrepreneurship ecosystem in Nigeria is pulsating with a vibrant population of entrepreneurs. However, the digital economy is primarily concentrated in the major cities of Lagos and Abuja, highlighting the wide geographic and sectoral divide in digital technology adoption between urban and rural areas. Lagos has a mature and active ecosystem with dynamic incubators, venture capital firms, and digital start-ups. Currently, the digital ecosystem is also growing rapidly in Abuja and Port Harcourt. This development suggests that expansion into mid-sized cities is generally possible, as long as the required digital infrastructure is available In order to overcome the existing gap, the entire country must therefore be connected to affordable high-speed Internet, so that not only the large cities and elites can benefit from the digital boom in the country.
In order to further advance this positive development in a sustainable and human-centred manner and in line with the national digital strategy, the BMZ supports the digital ecosystem with the Digital Transformation Center Nigeria. The DTC is primarily engaged in the area of sustainable economic development and employment promotion and cooperates with the Make-IT in Africa business network and the Green Innovation Centers for Agriculture and Food. Concrete activities focus on the education and training of youth and young adults in the digital sector, closely linking research institutions and digital entrepreneurship. This strengthens the local digital ecosystem and creates sustainable employment prospects. To achieve a positive impact, the Digital Transformation Center builds on the extensive experience and structures of Make-IT in Nigeria and cooperates closely with political decision-makers at regional and national level.