Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that Nigeria possesses the requisite talents, creativity and acumen to be significant in Web 3.
“In 1989, we didn’t have mobile phones; so, we could not take advantage of the reach and depth that mobile telecoms gave digital innovation and financial inclusion. We are now better positioned to be significant players in Web 3,” Osinbajo said when he appeared as Special Guest of Honour at this year’s Nigeria Digital Economy Summit themed, Web 3.0, Blockchain & DeFi: Impact on Africa’s Digital Economy.
The Nigeria Digital Economy Summit is a privately funded public-private partnership forum to support Nigeria’s digital transformation into a globally leading digital economy.
At the summit, the VP observed that with the right approach and policy, as well as the country’s human capital and potential, “we can actually become world leaders in digital technology in all its various ramifications.”
Delving into the different levels of progress recorded since the advent of the use of the Web on a large and global scale since Web 1 in 1989, Prof. Osinbajo said:
“A whole new world is unfolding before our very eyes, unlike Web 1 and 2 where we were relatively disadvantaged.
“In 1989 we didn’t have mobile phones so we could not take advantage of the reach and depth that mobile telecoms gave digital innovation and financial inclusion. We are now better positioned to be significant players in Web 3.
“We have already shown that we have the talent, creativity and acumen to build and grow major tech companies. At the last count, we have 6 unicorns and many more on the way. But we must spend time on the development of digital skills.”
Calling for more collaboration between the public and private sectors, he added that both worlds must find ways to ensure “policy is way ahead for development.”
According to him, “we must think through and develop appropriate policies and regulations that promote, rather than inhibit, innovation and commerce. We can be world leaders in the Web 3 revolution. The only limit is our vision,” he said.
He said the advent of Web 3 will mean the digitisation of government’s services which will enable government agencies to become smarter, faster and more efficient in delivering their services.
“But I think most importantly, digitising government processes and services is a sleeping commercial giant. The whole range of government services will provide several opportunities for innovation,” the VP observed.
Osinbajo also noted the category of licences created and made available to some FinTech companies by the Central Bank of Nigeria in the past few years as a significant example of how government policy can drive innovation and economic growth.
This category of banking licences accessible to fintech companies are at a far cheaper rate when compared to the cost of actual traditional banking licenses by the CBN, he argued.
He further highlighted the need to “expand the range of banking licenses” available to enable more players in the financial mediation value chain.
According to him, the government “must also set clear rules to enable crypto markets and trading in other digital assets. Identity in the Web 3 age is a key development. It means the user owns his or her own identity and personal data.”
He commended the organisers and their partners, noting that the annual summit was a testimony to the joint commitment of the government and the private sector to the rapid and value-driven development of Nigeria.
Aside from the VP, the event also featured remarks from the Convener of the Summit and founder/CEO of the Foresight Group, Mr. Lanre Osinbona; a representative of Bank of Industry, Mr Seun Tubi, as well as Silicon Valley investor, Director, Plug & Play, Abu Dhabi & Middle East, Babak Ahmadzadeh.
In his remarks, Osibona, who was previously Senior Special Assistant for Information and Communications Technology in the Buhari regime noted that collaboration was key to implementing successful digital transformation strategies.
“The key to achieving real change lies in actualising the true potential of our youth and preparing them to think and act for a future better than their past. They can learn from previous mistakes and build a better world for themselves and their children. Let us all work together towards using technology to build a sustainable Nigeria for future generations to come,” he stated.