The board of the African Development Bank, has approved the sum of $170 million to finance Digital and Creative Enterprises Program (i-DICE) in Nigeria, which is a Federal Government of Nigeria initiative to promote investment in digital and creative industries..
The program, which is part of Nigeria’s efforts to build greener environment to create more sustainable jobs for the teeming youthful population, targets more than 68 million Nigerians aged 15 to 35 years who are recognized 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.
He believes that the investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Program will also support the leaders through enterprise support organizations – 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,” he added.
The i-DICE program is among the latest series of ADB 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.
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 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 $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.