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A Closer Look at Nigeria's 774 Project

4 min read

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Nigeria's Digital Economy and Education

Background: Nigeria's Federal civil service has undergone various reforms since gaining independence, with the hope that each reform will maximize efficiency and success.

In 2011, the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology in Nigeria was renamed to the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy. The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy manages, and coordinates activities related to Nigeria's Digital Economy, including regulation, infrastructure and service development, digital literacy, and indigenous content development among others.

The 2019 National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy was developed by the reformed Ministry to reposition the Nigerian economy to take advantage of digital technologies. This document outlines objectives such as increasing broadband penetration, improving service delivery, and developing a technology start-up ecosystem. It also references existing regulatory instruments, including guidelines for Nigerian content development in ICT, Universal Access and Universal Service Regulations, Cybercrime Act 2015, and Nigeria Data Protection Regulation 2019.

In 2021, during President Buhari's administration, Dr. Isa Pantami, the former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, launched seven digital economy projects in Nigeria. These projects were part of 16 policies aimed at promoting the development of Nigeria's digital economy. The Ministry implemented various initiatives to achieve this goal, such as the enrollment of National Identification Numbers (NIN), the establishment of digital industrial parks, digital capacity training centers, and e-health projects.

The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has initiated and implemented various projects, one of which is Nigeria's Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF). This fund was established in 2006 by the former Nigerian Communications Commission to provide access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) in rural, underserved, and un-served areas. USPF's programs consist of a group of related projects that work together to achieve this goal. Some of USPF's access programmes include the Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre (TIKC), School Knowledge Centre (SKC), and E-Accessibility Centre. towards achieving its objectives as stated in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy of 2019. However, the country's digital economy still faces significant challenges, particularly due to poor infrastructure and regulatory issues. These challenges are acting as impediments to further advancements.

Last year, the Nigerian government, led by President Tinubu, appointed Dr. Bosun Tijani as the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy. Tijani is the co-founder of Co-Creation Hub, a significant development for Nigeria's technology ecosystem. Bosun Tijani, the new minister, is expected to bring a fresh perspective to the industry and encourage collaboration between established businesses and emerging tech startups. As an expert in the tech ecosystem, his leadership holds promise for striking a balance between promoting innovation and preserving regulatory stability, which is crucial for the growth of the technology industry in Nigeria.

Focus: Last month (Feb 2024), The Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy in Nigeria led by Bosun Tijani launched a project to connect 774 local government secretariats to the internet, creating over 300 jobs. The project aims to address poor telecommunications infrastructure and drive inclusive growth. The ministry partnered with NITDA to develop Nigeria's technical talent and digital economy.

The Mozisha Picture: The National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, also known as the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) Connectivity project, aims to provide internet connectivity to underserved areas. This project could greatly benefit education by bridging the digital divide, facilitating e-learning solutions, improving teacher training, and providing access to a wider range of educational content.

If implemented effectively, the initiative has the potential to improve access to quality education which, in turn, could improve the work of startups like Mozisha in Nigeria. Mozisha is committed to ensuring equitable access, developing engaging digital content, and providing quality practical-based training. The overall vision of Mozisha is to empower and equip African youths with in-demand skills to thrive in the digital age, compete globally, and contribute to their local economies.

Consequently, Mozisha can leverage its platform and network to advocate for the broader integration of EdTech solutions within the Nigerian education system. This could involve raising awareness among policymakers, educators, and the public about the potential benefits of EdTech in improving learning outcomes.


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