Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly this week, Bosun Tijani, Nigeria’s minister of communication, innovation and digital economy has released the agenda that he intends to pursue at the sidelines of the assembly in New York.
Tijani said his top priorities include: expanding the Universal Service Provision Fund, positioning Nigeria as a hub for AI training, and accelerating economic diversification through technology.
“By collaborating with global leaders and stakeholders, we aim to bring forth a brighter, digital and inclusive future for Nigeria. It is an opportunity to reinforce our global ties, understand emerging trends and co-design pathways that can elevate the prosperity of our nation,” he added.
Just as we did during the G20 meeting in India, we will bring you coverage of the UNGA as it affects Africa’s digital economy.
The big three
#1. Ruto woos tech investors at Silicon Valley
The news: Kenya’s president, William Ruto was at Silicon Valley in San Francisco last week to woo American tech investors and companies to invest in the East African country, as part of the US-Kenya Business Roadshow.
“Kenya is a full package investment destination; economically stable, entrepreneurial, secure, innovative with a favourable tax environment, skilled labour force, technological expertise, green energy credentials and a gateway for six undersea fibre-optic cables providing reliable data connectivity,” he said.
Know more: At home in Kenya, Ruto has been accused of increasing taxes for businesses, including those in the tech sector.
However, Ruto insists that “[Kenya has] a tax code that is simple to enforce, consistent, fair, and predictable”. “We have eliminated value-added tax on exported services and the tax on stock-based compensation for employees of startups, as well as the domestic equity requirement for ICT companies,” he said.
“Our country is not only a thriving economy of the hardest workers you can find anywhere,” Ruto said. In recent times, Kenya has been accused of poor labour laws that have led to the exploitation of Kenyan workers by Big Tech companies. Meta and Sama, its [former] main subcontractor for content moderation in Africa, have faced several lawsuits in Kenya over alleged unsafe and unfair working conditions.
#2. What we know about the UAE visa ban on Nigerian travellers
Zoom in: Last week, the Nigerian government announced that the 11-month visa ban by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been lifted and that the Gulf state-owned Emirates and Etihad would “immediately resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria without any further delay,” Ajuri Ngelale, Nigeria’s spokesperson, said.
As of Monday (September 11) when the news broke, a report from Emirates News Agency, the UAE-state media, which was posted by the UAE Embassy in Nigeria did not corroborate Ngelale’s statements in detail. “The UAE President and Nigerian President explored opportunities for further bilateral collaboration in areas that serve both countries’ sustainable economic growth, including the economic, development…,” reads the report.
Later that day, Ngelale told local media Channels TV that: “Every agreement comes with mutual responsibility. There is no free lunch. What I mean by that is the notion that floodgates will open up and we go back to business as usual. That is not what Nigerians should expect. I want to be very clear about this so that everybody can understand.”
Contrary to the widely circulated news, an anonymous UAE official told CNN that “there are no changes on the Nigeria/UAE travel status so far.”
Context: A year ago, UAE’s Emirates suspended all its flights in and out of Nigeria due to its inability to repatriate $85 million stuck in Nigeria. Later in October of the same year, the UAE imposed a visa ban on all Nigerian travellers.
#3. President Tinubu reforms Nigeria’s central bank leadership
On Friday, Nigeria’s president Bola Tinubu nominated Olayemi Michael Cardoso to serve as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He also approved the nomination of Emem Nnana Usoro, Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello as deputies. If approved by the Nigerian Senate, all nominees will serve at the apex bank for a five-year term at first instance.
These nominations come about three months after Tinubu suspended former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele with immediate effect, following an ongoing investigation of his office and planned reforms in the financial sector, he was later arrested by the State Security Service (SSS). Per Reuters, Emefiele resigned last month.
Source: Benjamin Dada