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AfDB approves $170M investment in Nigeria’s digital and creative startups.

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The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Board of Directors has approved a $170 million loan to Nigeria to fund a digital and creative enterprises program.

The Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Program (i-DICE) is a Nigerian government initiative aimed at encouraging investment in the digital and creative industries.

It is part of Nigeria’s efforts to rebuild better, greener, and more inclusive infrastructure in order to create more long-term jobs for the country’s growing youth population.

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More than 68 million Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 35 are targeted by the program, who are identified as leaders of innovative, early-stage, technology-enabled start-ups or creative sector micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

The Islamic Development Bank and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) are co-funding the program.

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“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 (AfDB) President Akinwumi A. Adesina.

Enterprise support organizations — groups that support, train, and sometimes fund entrepreneurs – such as innovation hubs, accelerators, venture capital, and private equity companies will also benefit from the investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Program.

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The government’s i-DICE project will benefit from bank financing, allowing Nigeria to further solidify its position as Africa’s leading start-up investment destination and a hub for young entrepreneurs.

“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..

The program is expected to generate 6.1 million direct and indirect jobs, with the Bank’s financing supporting around 850,000 of them. The program’s value added to the Nigerian economy is projected to be $6.4 billion.

Through independently managed funds focusing on digital and creative entrepreneurship, the program will help to grow Nigeria’s venture capital market. These funds aim to raise $433 million in private and public sector funding in the first year.

“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 recognize the strong country ownership, under the leadership of Vice President Osinbajo,” he added.

The African Development Bank’s active portfolio in Nigeria consists of 57 operations worth $4.61 billion, with 30 public and 27 private sector operations.

The i-DICE Program is perfectly aligned with the Bank’s strategic priority areas, dubbed the “High 5s,” which include “Industrialize Africa,” “Improve the quality of life for Africans,” and “Feed Africa.”

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Weddy Thuranira
Weddy Thuranira
Weddy profiles new startups and innovators across Africa and announces funding rounds, mergers, acquisitions and startup partnerships across Africa. She is based in Nairobi, Kenya. Reach her and the entire news desk at [email protected]

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