Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday launched a $600 million programme for young Nigerians in the technology and creative sectors with a call on African governments and the private sector to do more to support the growth of innovation on the continent.
He made the call at the presidential launch of the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) programme held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja. The programme will support young Nigerians ranging from ages 15 to 35 who are entrepreneurs and involved in early stages in creative, innovative and technology-enabled ventures.
The vice president said, “The total fund is $618m, out of which the African Development Bank (AfDB) provides $170m, the Agence Française de Développement $116m and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) will provide $70m in co-financing.”
He said another $271m was expected from the private sector and institutional investors, while there was also the Federal Government of Nigeria’s counterpart contribution of $45m through the Bank of Industry loans for qualifying start-ups.
FG, W/Bank partner to train technical teachers
Old naira notes: Traders sceptical, want Buhari to address nation
Prof Osinbajo observed that the launch of i-DICE was a significant milestone by the Nigerian government in its continued efforts in harnessing the potential of its youth population and creating more jobs.
The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann, said France was proud to support the programme to promote innovation and investment in digital and creative enterprises which would create new opportunities for young Nigerians.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, said the initiative would provide life to Nigeria’s Startup Act signed into law last year by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She said i-DICE would enable youths to get higher valued jobs, attract investments, allow agencies to benefit from enhanced skills and contribute to economic growth.