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US Deputy Treasury Secretary engages in high-level tech dialogue about fostering tech & innovation collaboration with Nigeria

By Fehintola Adewale, Abuja
22 September 2023   |   6:08 pm
In his recent visit to Nigeria, the United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Wally Adeyemo, engaged in a dynamic roundtable discussion with key stakeholders from the VGG ecosystem.

In his recent visit to Nigeria, the United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Wally Adeyemo, engaged in a dynamic roundtable discussion with key stakeholders from the VGG ecosystem.

The gathering included technology experts, startup founders and entrepreneurs who are actively shaping Nigeria’s digital economy.

The primary objective of the meeting was to delve into the challenges and opportunities within the technology sector.

The insightful conversation, spearheaded by Tola Talabi, a prominent VGG Board Member, and Dara Osibo, Principal at Venture Garden Nigeria, covered a wide range of critical topics. These included Venture Capital, Development Finance, Nigeria’s startup ecosystem and exciting opportunities for U.S. tech investors in Africa

The round table event also featured the presence of Dr. Ola Brown, founder of HealthCap Africa, who shed light on her journey as a seasoned venture capitalist, second-time fund manager and investor creating jobs through her investments.

During the discussion, she emphasized on the opportunity of Nigeria and America to work together to invest in more venture funds that can continue to create jobs through investments and a win-win situation in terms of domiciliation and exits.

Her insights extended to how she founded HealthCap Africa to focus on venture capital investing, which has yielded tangible results with the creation of 12,000 indirect jobs and 1,000 direct jobs through its portfolio companies.

HealthCap Africa is a venture capital firm focused on early-stage investments in healthtech and fintech startups across Africa, with investments in over 20 fintech and healthtech companies, operating in 12 countries and serving nearly one million customers.

In addition to her contributions to the world of finance and technology, Dr. Ola is also a medical doctor who holds a Master Degree in Finance and Economic Policy.

She is currently doing her PhD in Finance focused on fintech/monetary policy.

One of the significant takeaways from the event was Mr. Adeyemo’s projection for Nigeria’s future. He noted that by 2040, Nigeria is poised to become one of the most populous countries globally and the largest on the African continent.

This population surge, coupled with decreasing data costs, increased smartphone accessibility, and a tech-savvy youth demographic, presents a huge commercial opportunity.

In Mr. Adeyemo’s own words, “I am excited to be here today because it has given me a chance to see Nigeria and innovation at its best and to see the innovative companies that are being built here and I agree with you that there is so much potential here in Nigeria.”

Notably, many companies operating in Africa are based in the United States, pay taxes there, and aspire to list their companies on the New York Stock Exchange.

This presents a promising avenue for trade between Nigeria and the United States.

Additionally, Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson, the founder of Healthtracka, a healthtech platform facilitating lab test bookings, sample collection at home, and results delivery via email within 48 hours, was in attendance.

Healthtracka currently operates in 12 Nigerian states and offers over 200 health tests on its platform. The startup recently received an equity-free fund from the Gates Foundation, further emphasizing the potential of Nigerian innovation on the global stage.

The participants extensively discussed fundraising strategies and the potential benefits for both Nigeria and the United States in terms of liquidity and initial public offerings (IPOs).

However, they also highlighted certain challenges, such as Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance issues related to banking transactions between Nigeria and the United States. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, expressed his admiration for the innovative solutions emerging from Nigeria. “These innovations have the potential to transform the country and address several of its current challenges”, he remarked.

The round table event marked a significant milestone in fostering stronger ties between Nigeria and the United States in the realm of technology and innovation. As Nigeria continues to chart its path towards becoming a global technology hub, collaborations like these promise a bright future for both nations.

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