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  The Federal Government has initiated the Digital and Creative Enterprise Program (i-DICE), which aims to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital technology and creative industries.
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During the program’s launch in Abuja on Wednesday, Nigeria’s vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, announced that the fund is worth $618 million. The fund comprises $170 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB), $100 million from Agence Francaise de Development, and $70 million in co-financing from the Islamic Development Bank. The federal government will also provide a counterpart contribution of $45 million through the Bank of Industry, which will be made available through loans to eligible startups. The AfDB President stated that the program will raise additional capital of between $131 million and $262 million through independent fund managers for i-DICE. The Bank of Industry will spearhead the I-DICE Program, while Microsoft will provide technical aid, knowledge sharing, and skill development, with a specific emphasis on talent acquisition. This initiative, as stated by the vice president, will boost the growth of Nigeria’s multi-billion dollar technology and creative industries. In the past year, Nigerian startups have accounted for 27.4% of the over $3.6 billion invested in African startups, according to BD Funding Tracker. This investment was mainly provided by local and foreign private investors.
“This influx of private capital has enabled start-ups to expand operations and create new jobs while contributing significantly towards our own GDP growth,”
Osinbajo added.
“It is now imperative to commence a coordinated approach towards innovation on the continent, bringing together all stakeholders to coordinate efforts at scaling up investments and building programmes that provide the right enabling environment and produce talent pipelines that support the growth of innovation on the continent,”
he added.
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Benefits of the Fund

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has revealed that the fund will target Nigerian youth entrepreneurs aged 15-35 years who are leading innovative technology-based startups in their early stages and creative sector micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as Enterprise Support Organizations (ESOs) such as hubs, accelerators, venture capital, and private equity firms. As part of the $618 million investment, approximately $1.14 million will be dedicated to startups led by women in both sectors.
“We are equipping Nigeria to become more competitive in a rapidly evolving digital world. We are creating a new Nigeria that is fueled by the strength of its youth,”
said AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina. According to the AfDB, iDICE will also improve regulatory policy frameworks such as the 2022 Nigeria Startup Act, provide financing opportunities through the establishment of an independently managed venture capital fund, known as the DICE Fund, and mobilize over $217 million in investment capital. The fund will also offer technical resources to reduce the risk of digital and creative companies on a large and sustainable scale.
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The i-DICE fund is expected to generate over 6.1 million direct and indirect employment opportunities and impart technology and creative skills to more than 175,000 young individuals. Adesina revealed that the fund will assist approximately 451 technology startups, 226 creative businesses, and 75 enterprise support organizations. Adesina further mentioned that the iDICE model will be extended to other regional member countries through AfDB’s Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Bank program, which will create a comprehensive financial and non-financial support system to aid young African entrepreneurs in establishing startups and employment opportunities. Featured Image Source: African Development Bank
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This article was first published on 31st March 2023


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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