Government of the United Kingdom (UK) has announced a new investment of £70 million to Nigeria to support start-up businesses and innovative individuals, which it noted would create 100,000 jobs and raise the income level of about 3 million Nigerians.
The UK Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, said this while making her remarks during events organised by the Ventures Park as part of the activities lined up for the state visit of the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, on Wednesday in Abuja.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, arrived Abuja yesterday and had been received by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House where both leaders discussed issues of bilateral ties, trade, and investment, 2019 elections as well as the Boko Haram terrorism.
The UK Minister said further that the visit of the UK Prime Minister was to strengthen bilateral trade and investment in Nigeria for the mutual benefit of both countries. She added that the Prime Minister had in her entourage not just owners’ of large business concerns but small and medium business enterprises integral to any economy.
“So today we are celebrating the world of the starter, the world the entrepreneur, the world of the person with the imagination to create something from nothing. Nigeria and UK play together in terms of our shared passion in this area,” she said.
She stressed that the UK is leading the world in Financial Technology (Fintech) and would want to see that Nigeria also leads the world in terms of the technology through exchange programmes.
“The UK is announcing today through the Department for International Development a new £70 million programme that will create some 100,000 jobs in Nigeria and also raise the income of 3 million Nigerians. So, we will see some of the energy and excitement that exist in our two countries and to strengthen our bilateral relationship to tap the brilliant things that are in Nigeria and the brilliant things that are in the UK,” she said.
While fielding questions with reporters, the UK Minister said that Fintech would provide the needed jobs and bring real investment in that area of technology. She added that the programme was designed to improve Nigerian agriculture which will make it possible for the benefitting farmers “to have access to finance, access to seeds, access to market, access to tractors and we have a wide range of areas in which this technology sector can really drive the economy and create jobs.”
In his remarks, Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, said that the government policies are now being formulated to support innovations and start –up businesses in the Fintech areas to boost variety of jobs.
He noted that despite the difficulties faced by the start-up entrepreneurs, “a lot of these entrepreneurs actually started while we were in recession”.
He added that the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari would continue to support the entrepreneurs with micro-credit, saying, “For one thing the micro-credit that we are giving to the people at the bottom is bound to speed up growth. We are giving credit to 2 million people essentially micro traders. Obviously, it will improve their industry and it will improve their capacity.”
Osinbajo noted that Nigeria has made much progress in the area and will continue to collaborate with the UK government to deepen investment in the sector saying “we need to create the right environment for innovation to thrive.’’