US “Travel” Ban- Will This Affect the Nigerian Tech Space?
The US government announced that the already controversial travel ban is now extended to Nigeria, Africa’s unofficial tech capital and five other nations including Sudan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea and Tanzania.
This proclamation signed by President Trump on the 31st of January 2020 says people from these countries will be ineligible for immigrant visas that may lead to permanent residency.
Nigeria has over time become a hotbed for the formation of startups especially tech startups and so tech experts say that this ban will not only fully impact the skills and technology transfer to Nigeria but greatly affect the growing number of students who qualify for the H-1B visa and maybe have had opportunities to reinvest in the Nigerian economy as tech entrepreneurs providing business solutions.
The ability for Nigeria to export tech talents will greatly be affected and have immediate repercussions on organizations that provide human capital to the US.
Even investor interest may drastically reduce.
Only recently, Facebook showed interest to invest in the fibre connectivity of the country, this might be affected also as the ban strongly sends the wrong signal to potential investors.
The inclusion of Nigeria in this ban not only comes as a shock as the country has long considered itself a strong ally of the United States, this alongside other indicators has resulted in a lot of criticisms.
Nigeria has been a major trading partner to the US and has been since the 1960’s, the nation also share a partnership against terrorism. Officials point to this as a reason for reconsideration.
However, the Trump administration has defended its decision, saying the ban is important for national security and that some of these countries simply have not met US security standards, including passport technology, though they failed to share information on criminals and terrorist suspects.
A spokesman from President Muhammed Buhari’s administration, say they are setting up a committee to work with the US government and Interpol to ensure that Nigeria comply with global security standards.
Notably, the travel ban or the “African Ban” as some critics have said which was first introduced in 2017 now affects close to quarter of the population of the African continent.