Nigeria Establishes $268 Million Fund for Entrepreneurs and Tech Innovators

Nigeria has agreed to disburse $268 million in funding to help agricultural entrepreneurs and young technology innovators, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.

One tranche of the funding, worth 90 billion naira ($248 million), will be dispensed by the central bank as “soft loans” for people building small-scale agricultural businesses, while another $20 million will provide funding support to young innovators in technology, according an emailed statement by the presidency.

The Finance Act was recently signed into law. One of its clauses exempts early-stage startups, with annual revenue of less than N25 million per annum from paying taxes

But, this is not the first time the government in any capacity has disbursed funds for the tech industry.

In 2018, The Federal Government, through Prof Yemi Osinbajo, announced that it was in talks with the African Development Bank (AfDB), to create a $500 million innovation fund for the technology and creative industry, soon after he visited technology start-ups and hubs around the countries and the popular Silicon Valley.

There are also questions as to how the fund will be managed and disbursed. Nigeria has a long history of state funds diverted or embezzled by people in positions of authority.

Although there are not many details on how the funds will be disbursed, the hope is that this will be different and not go the same way other funds have.