A $618 million Investment in Digital & Creative Enterprises (I-DICE) Programme has been launched for the promotion of digital technology and creative industries in the country.
The Programme, according to a statement on Wednesday by the French Embassy was an initiative from the Federal Government of Nigeria and aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital technology and creative industries.
According to the statement, The launching which took place on Wednesday was held at the State House in presence of the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, with co-financiers representatives in attendance.
The statement said I-DICE Programme is part of efforts to create jobs for young Nigerians and support the development of these fast-growing industries. It is co-financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), French Development Agency (AFD), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) & the Bank of Industry (BOI) with respectively $170 million, €100 million (equivalent to $116 million), $70 million & $45 million in funding.
The statement added that the remaining financing is expected to come from the private sector and institutional investors. The funding will provide training, mentorship, and funding to young entrepreneurs and innovators in the digital technology and creative industries. The Implementing Agency, the Bank of Industry, will coordinate the day-to-day activities of the project.
Speaking at the launch of the program at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja, the Vice President called on African governments and the private sector to do more to support the growth of innovation in the continent.
He said: “I think 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.”
In his remarks, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said: “I am proud of the African Development Bank Group’s leading role in this initiative, which has the potential to generate millions of jobs for Nigeria’s youths.The urgency of leveraging the implementation of I-DICE sustainable job creation and economic transformation is now”
Speaking at the launch event, the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Emmanuelle Blatmann, underscored the importance of the digital technology and creative industries to the Nigerian economy. “The digital technology and creative industries have enormous potential to create jobs and spur economic growth in Nigeria,” she said. “The I-DICE program, co-financed by AFD, AfDB, IsDB & the BOI, is designed to support the young entrepreneurs and innovators who are driving these industries forward.”The launch event brought together representatives from the Nigerian government, the private sector, as well as young entrepreneurs and innovators from the digital technology and creative industries. The event featured presentations and networking opportunities, and highlighted the opportunities and challenges facing these industries in Nigeria.
With a focus on enhancing access to finance for start-ups in the digital and creative industry and job creation, the I-DICE Programme is poised to make is a significant impact on the lives of young Nigerians, helping to create sustainable employment opportunities and contributing to the development of the country’s economy. The commitment of the co-financiers to supporting this initiative underscores their recognition of the importance of these sectors in driving economic growth and development in Nigeria, the statement said.