The African Development Bank and its partners launched the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) programme on Tuesday.
The $618 million initiative will attract direct investments in more than 200 technology and creative start-ups and provide non-financial services to approximately 450 digital technology, small and medium enterprises. iDICE is expected to generate $6.4 billion for the Nigerian economy and create 6 million new jobs for young Nigerians.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, spoke at the launch event in Abuja, emphasising the importance of a coordinated approach to innovation across Africa. “The government must do more to help start-ups and small businesses, and investors must do more to fund them,” Osinbajo said.
The African Development Bank Group is the largest iDICE funder, contributing $170 million. The French government, through the Agence Française de Développement, will contribute €100 million ($116 million), and the Islamic Development Bank, subject to board approval, will contribute $70 million. The Nigerian government will provide $45 million in counterpart funding through its executing agency, the Bank of Industry. Other institutional and private-sector investors are expected to contribute additional funds to the strategic initiative’s implementation.
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, emphasised the importance of leveraging iDICE’s enormous potential for long-term job creation and economic transformation. “We are retooling Nigeria to be more competitive in an increasingly digital world,” he says. We are fostering hope for a new Nigeria through the power of youth.”
The African Development Bank anticipates that the iDICE model will be implemented in other regional member countries through the Bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Bank initiative, which will be designed to create a financial and non-financial services ecosystem to support and create jobs for start-ups run by young Africans.
According to Emmanuelle Blatmann, the French Ambassador to Nigeria, digital technology and creative industries have enormous potential to create jobs and spur economic growth in Nigeria. The iDICE program…is intended to support young entrepreneurs and innovators who are driving these industries forward,” she explained.
Around 175,000 young people, including university students, will gain direct access to technology through iDICE in order to develop creative skills, stimulate innovation, and help new businesses thrive. iDICE will contribute to Nigeria’s continued leadership as Africa’s premier hub for young entrepreneurs and start-up investments. African start-ups raised $5.4 billion in 2022, with Nigerian firms receiving the largest share ($1.2 billion).
iDICE will also improve regulatory policy frameworks such as the 2022 Start-up Act, provide financing through the establishment of a DICE Fund, an independently managed venture capital fund, and raise over $217 million in investment capital. The fund will also provide technical resources to scale and sustainably de-risk digital and creative companies.