Press "Enter" to skip to content

Nigeria: Enhancing Osun State’s Digital Economy Growth through Innovation and Entrepreneurship

With the intention of making Osun State in Nigeria a tech powerhouse for the southwest, the state government on March 6, 2023, unveiled a digital economy policy for the state. In the objectives and activities in the digital economy of the Osun State government, this x-ray significant areas of concern.

The digital economy is the worldwide network of economic activities, commercial transactions and professional interactions that are enabled by information and communications technologies (ICT). It can be succinctly summed up as the economy based on digital technologies. Innovative entrepreneurs use a variety of innovation skills while creating ideas for products, business models and processes. Illustration of innovation skills includes problem-solving, design and strategic thinking. Digital awareness base and ICT market, digital expertise, entrepreneurship culture and easy access to finance are the five pillars of the digital entrepreneurship model. Therefore, “Digital Economy” reduces innovation costs and promotes innovation, which in turn promotes entrepreneurial activity. Digital innovation and entrepreneurship can improve standards of living, create wealth for entrepreneurs and related businesses for societal good.

[h5p id=”957″]

The World Bank has stated that “Africa has the opportunity to harness the digital economy as a driver of growth and innovation, but if it fails to bridge the digital divide its economies risk isolation and stagnation.” In recent years, there has been tremendous expansion in the startup and technology development sectors in Nigeria. Nigeria has around 481 tech businesses that employ 19,000 people, according to the Nigerian Startup Ecosystem Report 2022 from Disrupt Africa. Nigeria’s startup ecosystem was placed second in Africa and 61st globally in another research. Between 2017 and 2022, the startup industry in Nigeria attracted almost $2,068,709,465 in capital and investment, according to Disrupt Africa.

The National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) with the slogan “For a Digital Nigeria” was introduced by the former president Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. Eight (8) pillars, including Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy and Skills, Solid Infrastructure, Service Infrastructure, Digital Services Development and Promotion, Soft Infrastructure, Digital Society and Emerging Technology and Indigenous Content Development and Adoption, serve as the foundation for NDEPS. These pillars aim to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, economic productivity, create employment and promote inclusive growth. While the Nigeria Startup Act project is a joint initiative by Nigeria’s tech startup ecosystem and the Presidency to harness the potential of our digital economy through co-created regulations. The Nigeria Startup Act will enable the government to collaborate and engage more effectively with private-sector stakeholders to promote innovation and build a more robust digital ecosystem. On October 19, 2022, former President Buhari officially signed it into law. Between June and September 2021, more than 30 influential members of Nigeria’s tech community worked on its drafting. According to one expert, there’s more that goes into building a thriving and inclusive digital economy. Additionally, in order for policies or legislations to serve the purpose for which they were created, they must be implemented.

The Osun Road Map for the Digital Economy

On August 27, 1991, a portion of the former Oyo State was divided to become the present-day State of Osun. The Yoruba Hills run through the northern part of Osun state, Nigeria. The state has a covering of tropical rain forest, and the Osun is the most important river. Osun state is inhabited mainly by the Yoruba people. Osun State covers an area of 9,251 square kilometres. It lies at latitude 7°30′ North and longitude 4°30′ East. It has a population of 3,416,959 (2006 census) 4,705,589 (2016 forecast) and a population density of 369. The campus of Obafemi Awolowo University, one of Nigeria’s premier schools of higher learning, is one of the most well-known landmarks in Nigeria and is located in the Osun region. A significant early center of political and theological development for Yoruba culture, the institution is situated in the historic town of Ile-Ife. The six campuses of Osun State University—Osogbo, Okuku, Ikire, Ejigbo, Ifetedo, and Ipetu-Ijesha—are strategically positioned throughout the state and were founded and set the groundwork for its establishment by the former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

Osun’s economy is based mainly on agriculture. The major occupations in the State are fishing, farming, palm oil milling, lumbering, palm wine tapping, local gin making, trading, carving and weaving. Osogbo, the state capital, has a textile industry, a food-processing plant, and a steel-rolling mill. The state accounts for 2.4% of Nigeria’s total population. It is estimated that 60 per cent of Nigeria’s population is under the age of 25, making it the youngest country in Africa. According to the 2006 Population Census, there are 1,115,394 youth between ages 18 and 35 in Osun State. As of 2020, around 68 percent of the young population in Nigeria had secondary education as their highest educational level. Moreover, some 17 percent had achieved the post-secondary level of education, while 15 percent had completed primary education. In addition, Osun State is renowned for having the second-highest literacy rate in the nation.

[h5p id=”956″]

Osun state’s total GDP in 2022 was $7.3 billion, according to figures on GDP given by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). It is however the second-lowest in the South-West region, only ahead of Ekiti State. Osun is one of the top 14 GDP-producing states in Nigeria as a result. According to NBS data, Osun State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the first half of 2021 was N13.67 billion, ranking it in the top 16 states with the highest IGR in that period. Additionally, the State’s IGR is somewhat low compared to its counterparts when calculated on a per capita basis. IGR per capita in Osun State was N3,678 in 2021, less than the national average of N4,616. This is according to BudgIT. In the South-West region and across the country, Osun state has the second-lowest IGR per capita. Osun is still in a good position to use the potential of its predominantly rural communities to sustain development. To ultimately promote industrialization, widen the tax base, and boost IGR, it is essential to provide the enabling environment that can boost local productivity. Osun has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation as of Q4 2020, at 11.65%. But that just tells part of the tale; the national average of 33% as of the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020 has been revised by research organizations and specialists, so the number may not be inviolate. According to a recent report by KPMG, the rate has risen to 37.7% in 2022 and will increase further to 40.6 percent in 2023. How can an agricultural production-focused economy support an educated youth population in Osun State with a high literacy rate?

The Opolo Global Innovations Hub, located on the main campus of Osun State University in Osogbo, hosted a roundtable discussion on May 31, 2023, with the theme “Accelerating Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Osun: Understanding the State Government’s Innovation Plan for Successful Implementation and Stakeholders’ Buy-in.” Dr. Rasheed Adebiyi, the hub’s director and a lecturer at Fountain University in Osogbo, said at the session that the main objective of the First Edition of the Innovation Stakeholder’s Dialogue was to engage the Osun State Government’s innovation plans and programmes so that critical stakeholders could have an understanding of the plans, programmes and policies. “And we have the critical stakeholders here ranging from tech people, entrepreneurs, emerging startups, the media and the students,” he told Susa Africa.

“The Osun State Government is aware that innovation and entrepreneurship are at the heart of economic growth and job creation, which can transform productivity and efficiency and address many of the State’s long-standing and emerging challenges, such as employment opportunities, climate change, health, education, and social inclusivity.” Mr. M. A. K. Jimoh, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Innovation, Science & Technology, stressed this after extensive discussion on the subject. The State Government has a sound plan for the rapid expansion of innovation and entrepreneurship that uses the following techniques: Creation of Supportive Legal Framework; Organise and Facilitate Local Hubs: Stimulate Networking and Collaboration; Provision of Access to Funding and Deployment of ICT Infrastructure. While the Stakeholder Buy-in For Successful Implementation are: Collaboration with Educational Institutions; Engaging the Private Sector; Fostering Collaboration and Networking and Ensuring Continuous Evaluation and Adaptation.

Stakeholders urge inclusive governance, open access to information and data from the government for the general public in the area of startup development, and greater collaboration within the State’s ecosystem.

Cover Image: The Executive Governor Of Osun State H.E, Senator Ademola Nurudeen Adeleke. Photo: Premium Times

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.