- Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara has approved the state's adoption of the Nigeria Startup Act. This follows Kaduna State’s adoption of the Act in July 2023.
- With this move, Rivers State could experience economic growth and the dawn of a new, sustainable era of startup-led technological advancement.
- The Nigeria Startup Act, signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2022, is a landmark piece of legislation designed to create an enabling environment for tech startups to thrive and be on the same page with relevant government agencies.
As of March 2023, only 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states stated their interest in domesticating the Act. These states are Lagos, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Kwara, Kaduna, Niger, Nassarawa, Zamfara, Anambra, Imo, and Rivers.
Only Kaduna and Rivers, two of these twelve, have shown genuine interest in fostering a thriving tech ecosystem for startups and attracting investments.
Kaduna State became the first state in Nigeria to enact legislation when Senator Uba Sani, the state Governor, signed the Startup Act into law on July 12, 2023.
The Special Assistant to the Governor of Rivers State on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Fenibo Fubara, commented on the state's adoption of the Startup Act on his social media page, saying, "We look forward to a Rivers State where the treasure is not only based on her natural resources [oil] but more so in the minds of her young innovators."
If Rivers State follows the provisions of the Act, it could become the new destination for Nigerian tech startups and investors.
The Startup Act's emphasis on economic diversification and job creation aligns with Rivers State's growth strategy. More job opportunities in the tech sector will benefit the state, contributing to greater economic diversification by fostering a favourable environment for startups.
What’s more, Rivers State would need to do more than just approve the Act to encourage startup growth in the state, considering that Nigeria usually faces implementation issues rather than a lack of suitable laws and policies.