Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), the Vice President of Nigeria, has been a strong advocate for the development of Nigeria’s digital economy. In 2023, he launched the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme (i-DICE), aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses in the technology and creative industries.
i-DICE, which is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital technology and creative industries to create jobs, especially for the growing population of young people in Nigeria.
During the launch, the vice president explained how exciting the journey has been to achieve this great milestone:
“What an exciting moment this is! After nearly 5 years of work with some of the most patriotic African and African institutions and several in the local technology and entertainment ecosystem, we arrive at the launch of the iDICE programme, the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme.
As you have all heard, the programme is a government initiative to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital, technology, and creative industries and is especially targeted at job creation.
What you may not have been told is the incredible effort that Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, President of AfDB put into this to make it happen. The thinking around this came from a discussion he and I had in 2018, I think it was in South Africa, on how to leverage technology and industry for jobs for young people. He told me at the time that the AfDB was already thinking along the lines of committing some funding to some iteration of the idea.
The fruit of that discussion and the hard work of many is what we witness here today. The fund as we were told is $ 618 million, out of which the AfDB provides $ 170 million, the Agence Francaise de Development provides $ 100 million and the Islamic Development Bank will provide $ 70 million in co-financing.
The Bank of Industry, BOI, representing the Federal Government, will provide $ 45 million as a counterpart contribution to be availed through loans for qualifying start-ups. And as we heard from the President of AfDB, we expect by leveraging this fund, another maybe $271million from the private sector and institutional investors.”
The president of the African development bank Akinwumi Adesina emphasized the need to leverage the enormous potential of iDICE programme for job creation and economic advancement. “We are retooling Nigeria to be more competitive in an increasingly digital world. We are creating hope for a new Nigeria, driven by the power of the youth.”
The i-DICE programme is part of a broader initiative to increase investments in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem. The Nigerian government has identified the technology sector as a key driver of economic growth and is working to create an enabling environment for tech startups and SMEs to thrive.
Yemi Osinbajo’s support for the i-DICE programme and the broader tech ecosystem is seen as a positive development, as it has the potential to create new opportunities for young people, promote innovation, and drive economic growth in Nigeria.
Please watch the video here