The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of $170m to finance a digital and creative enterprises programme in Nigeria.
The investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme (i-DICE) is a Federal Government of Nigeria’s initiative promoting investment in digital and creative industries.
It is part of Nigeria’s efforts to build back better, greener and more inclusively, to create more sustainable jobs for the teeming youthful population.
The programme targets more than 68 million Nigerians aged 15 to 35 years, who are recognised as leaders of innovative, early-stage, technology-enabled start-ups or as leaders of creative sector micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
The programme is co-financed by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
“Governments have a much greater role than just policy making. They need to be innovative and create an enabling environment that includes infrastructure and de-risking to harness private sector investments in key growth sectors,” said African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina.
The investment in the Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme, will also support the leaders through enterprise support organisations – groups that support, train, and sometimes fund entrepreneurs – including innovation hubs, accelerators, venture capital and private equity firms.
Bank financing of i-DICE will help the government initiative further consolidate Nigeria’s position as Africa’s leading start-up investment destination and as a youth entrepreneurship hub.
“This programme is among the latest series of our operations meant to bolster the implementation of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy.”
Given that tech-enabled enterprises cut across all the economic growth sectors, the program’s focus on the digital sector will deepen Nigeria’s job creation efforts,” said Beth Dunford, Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.
The initiative will stimulate investments in 226 technology and creative start-ups and provide non-financial services to 451 digital technology and small and medium enterprises.