By LOD Onyeji
…Federal Government establishes Implementation & Steering Committee to drive adoption and position Nigeria as a global blockchain leader…
In a significant move to embrace emerging technologies and harness their benefits, the Federal Government of Nigeria has unveiled the National Policy on Blockchain Technology and inaugurated an Implementation & Steering Committee to oversee its execution.
The policy launch, spearheaded by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), aims to promote the widespread adoption of blockchain technology in Nigeria and position the country as a frontrunner in the global blockchain ecosystem.
During the launch event, Professor Pantami highlighted that Nigeria’s journey with blockchain technology officially began on November 28, 2019, at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, where President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria.
Explaining the relevance of blockchain technology, the Minister emphasized its inclusion as the seventh pillar, titled ‘Digital Society & Emerging Technologies,’ in the NDEPS. He further elaborated on the government’s efforts to implement this pillar, including the development of policies on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, which led to the establishment of Africa’s first National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) in Abuja.
To advance the implementation of pillar seven, the National Blockchain Policy for Nigeria was developed, with the Minister underscoring the importance of blockchain technology to the nation’s digital economy drive. He emphasized that the Fourth Industrial Revolution has empowered African nations, particularly Nigeria, to actively participate in disruptive technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud computing, quantum computing, and more.
Acknowledging the achievements and ingenuity of Nigerian innovators, Professor Pantami affirmed Nigeria’s role as a key player in Africa’s technological advancement and as the leading startup hub on the continent.
The Minister confirmed that the National Blockchain Policy was officially approved on May 3, 2023, effectively legalizing blockchain technology and its various components within the country. He also highlighted the extensive engagement with 56 stakeholders and institutions in the scrutiny of the policy document.
Professor Pantami emphasized that the policy’s primary objective is to create an enabling environment for Nigeria’s tech-savvy youth to engage in critical thinking, identify complex problems, and develop solutions that can be implemented in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world.
Welcoming guests to the event, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullah, emphasized that the policy launch marks a remarkable milestone in Nigeria’s journey towards achieving a digital society. He expressed the agency’s commitment to providing citizens with access to the latest technology, skills, and a conducive environment to innovate in the realm of blockchain technology. Inuwa also highlighted the policy’s potential to create an enabling environment for investments in talent development, technology access, and domestication, ensuring Nigerian citizens can benefit from the immense value offered by blockchain technology.
Quoting PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Inuwa shared that by 2030, blockchain technology is projected to contribute $1.76 trillion to the global GDP. He expressed the government’s determination to position Nigeria optimally to reap the benefits, projecting potential gains of up to $4 billion if the policy is effectively implemented. The launch event also marked the inauguration of the National Blockchain Policy Implementation/Steering Committee and the graduation of 32,022 beneficiaries who had undergone blockchain technology training.
In his closing remarks, the Minister emphasized that the establishment of the committee and the certification of the beneficiaries aim to build upon the government’s initial efforts. Comprising representatives from critical sectors of the economy, the committee, with its 29 members, will play a vital role