The European Union Commission says it is offering £4bn credit to Nigeria and other members of the Economic Community of West African States to cover risks arising from investments in digital economy.
It said the credit, globally known as the European Fund for Strategic Investment, would trigger private investment in digital economy.
The European Commissioner for Digital Single Market and Vice President of the European Commission, Andrus Ansip, said that the requirements for accessing the fund included bankability and appropriate business plans.
Ansip, a former Estonian Prime Minister, stated this on Saturday in Lagos, two days after leading a delegation of the European Union to Nigeria.
He told our correspondent that the fund became necessary given that more than six per cent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product came from the digital economy.
“I am a firm believer in using technology to promote sustainable development, to reduce socio-economic inequalities, and to give everyone access to digital opportunities. Nigeria’s digital environment and ecosystems are excellent places to make some headway with the (£4bn) funding,” he added.
According to him, its implementation has been successful in growing the digital economy in the EU.
The digital economy focuses on getting people access to affordable broadband, promoting digital skills and literacy, supporting digital entrepreneurship and encouraging cross-sector digital services such as e-government, e-health and e-agriculture.
The EU commissioner said that the digital economy was contributing up to eight per cent of the GDP of the G-20 major economies, powering growth and creating jobs in mostly European nations.
Ansip stated that more significant for Nigeria was the need to create the right regulatory environment than the fund, adding that technology may just become its major revenue earner.
“It is about investing in digital infrastructure, developing the right digital skills, helping emerging technology start-ups to grow and scale up, remarkably similar challenges to those we face in Europe as we build a digital single market,” he added.
He also said Africa’s collaboration with the EU on the single digital market would help bring down barriers to unlocking online opportunities.
Ansip said that the EU single market offered European citizens and businesses significant freedom and the right to travel trade or operate across the member countries.
“Connectivity is vital for unlocking digital potential. More people online means more opportunities for businesses and digital entrepreneurs; Nigeria is no exception, nor is Europe,” he added.
Source:© Copyright Punch Online