Meta-backed deep-sea cable in Nigeria: Africa to reap $37bn economic activity in two years


  • Nigeria to lead continent in digital technology – Tinubu

  • Says country can’t afford to be left behind in technological innovations

  • Backs sustainability reporting initiative for investment promotion, economic development

President Bola Tinubu has said that his administration is sustaining investments in digital technology to enhance the sustainability of small businesses, expand opportunities across sectors, and propel Nigeria to become the lodestar of information and communications technology in Africa.

Speaking when he received a delegation from Meta Platforms Incorporated, led by Sir Nick Clegg, former UK Deputy Prime Minister and Meta’s President of Global Affairs, at the State House in Abuja on Thursday, the President said Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in this age of technological advancements; hence, his administration is opening up channels of opportunities in information and communications technology, deepening capacity, and fostering partnerships.

In view of his administration’s 3MTT programme, which is training three million Nigerian youths in digital technology and essential skills before deploying them to innovation hubs across the nation, the President emphasized that Nigerian youths are the most critical asset in Nigeria’s arsenal as it moves to achieve digital economic expansion.

“For us in Nigeria, we have a vibrant, gifted and resourceful youth population. Recognizing that the future is most likely to be AI-enabled, we have to prepare our youths and make them ready to compete and participate in the global economy.

“I can assure you that Nigeria is open for business. We want to lead the African continent in digital technology. Data is valuable to our development. We are ready to cooperate on technological advancements. It is the only way to go. We need a collaboration that will be a win-win for all,” President Tinubu said.

Emphasizing the importance of technology in driving small businesses, the President said he is committed to ensuring that technology is deployed, adapted, enhanced, and used to catalyze growth across a vast majority of micro businesses, spurring mass prosperity down the line.

“What interests me is the use of technology in the development of small businesses. We need to make the business environment more conducive for you and more profitable for us as well. I hope we can collaborate and continue to promote our mutual interests,” President Tinubu told the delegation.

Earlier in his remarks, Sir Clegg thanked the President for an executive order he issued, which enabled the landing of the Meta-backed deep-sea cable in Nigeria.

“It is an extraordinary infrastructure project. When it comes on stream in the first quarter of 2025, it will be twice as much as the capacity of all subsea cables that exist. We buried the cable 50 percent deeper than any other subsea cables under the seabed. It is more powerful and more extensive in terms of its geographical connectivity. It could yield up to $37 billion worth of increase in economic activity in the next two or three years across the African continent,” he said.

Sir Clegg also said Meta will introduce in June 2024 a feature on its Instagram app that will allow Nigerian creators to monetize their content to enable them to earn a living using the app.

“We have a lot to do with Nigeria to deepen partnerships,” he added.

The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, said Meta platforms are critical platforms in Nigeria, and as such opportunities for partnerships and engagement are essential to promoting development in the digital economy sector.

“We must continue to engage to create opportunities for our people so they can also share in global prosperity. Digital technology is an opportunity to connect Africa to contribute to the development of the world,” the Minister said.

President backs sustainability reporting initiative for investment promotion, economic development

In another development, President Tinubu has affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to diligently implement world-leading sustainability reporting standards aimed at unlocking capital investments, transforming business models, and safeguarding the environment in the country.

The President gave the assurance during a meeting on Thursday in Abuja with the International Sustainability Standards Board Chairman, Emmanuel Faber.

The President’s endorsement coincides with the launch of Nigeria’s Adoption Readiness Roadmap by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, in collaboration with ISSB.

This roadmap aims to guide businesses towards comprehensive sustainability reporting standards.

Highlighting the importance of compliance within the sustainability agenda, President Tinubu pledged that Nigeria would continue to adhere to international standards and expressed readiness to collaborate with ISSB to effectively harness national resources through reformed and reinforced financial management systems.

”As an administration, we are committed to adopting cutting-edge models for financial reporting and process standardization. This applies to environmental regulation, where we are on the verge of significantly reducing the volume of gas flaring in the country. We are more transparent than ever before, and we are doing everything possible to represent the continent in a way that will be beneficial to humanity as a whole,” the President stated.

ISSB Chair, Emmanuel Faber, while recounting Nigeria’s commitment to sustainability reporting, noted that at COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in 2022, Africa’s largest economy had expressed its intent to be among the earliest adopters of rigorous new standards, which is now a reality.

”I am extremely happy to be in Nigeria as the country announces its Adoption Readiness Roadmap. Nigeria is leading the pack in Africa and around the world, and these standards, which Nigeria is willingly adopting, will unlock sustainable capital inflows through foreign direct investments, promote inclusivity in value chains, and facilitate the decarbonization of the national economy,” Faber said.

The Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Rabiu Olowo, explained that Nigeria’s decision to join the global baseline for sustainability reporting marks the country as one of the earliest proponents committed to enhancing the transparency of financial information and business performance through sustainable reporting practices.

”The adoption readiness working group is set to pilot our affairs and roadmap to help us succeed on this journey. We are happy to inform the President that the work of the adoption readiness roadmap is ready, and we have the roadmap for businesses to follow. We have five sets of early adopters, and we have a period for voluntary adoption leading up to 2028 for mandatory adoption of the standards,” Olowo said.