AfDB invests US$170m in Nigeria’s digital future
The value added to the Nigerian economy connected to the program is estimated at US$6.4-billion.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of US$170-million to finance a digital and creative enterprises program in Nigeria.
According to the organisation, the investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Program (i-DICE) is a Federal Government of Nigeria initiative promoting investment in digital and creative industries.
The program 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 program 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 A. Adesina.
The investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Program 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 program 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.
AfDB and the Nigerian government said 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.
The program is also expected to create 6.1 million direct and indirect jobs, of which the Bank’s financing will support the creation of about 850,000 jobs. The value added to the Nigerian economy connected to the program is estimated at US$6.4-billion.
The program will boost Nigeria’s venture capital market through independently managed funds focusing on digital and creative enterprise. These funds aim to attract an initial capitalization of $433 million in private and public sector financing.
“This program will generate significant economic benefits to Nigeria,” said Lamin Barrow, Director General of the Bank’s Nigeria Country Department. “The program interventions will help respond to the challenges of youth employment in Nigeria, which could intensify without scalable interventions. I want to recognise the strong country ownership, under the leadership of Vice President Osinbajo,” he added.
The AfDB’s active portfolio in Nigeria comprises 57 operations across 30 public and 27 private sector operations, valued at about US$4.61-billion.