The African Development Bank (AfDB) has finalized an agreement to allocate $618 million to Nigeria through the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprise (i-DICE) initiative. Mr. Lamin Barrow, the Country Director-General for Nigeria at AfDB, revealed that the Nigerian government is currently in the process of selecting a fund manager for the ambitious project.
The i-DICE initiative, launched on March 14, encompasses a $618 million technology fund specifically designed to support young investors in Nigeria’s technology and creative sectors. Spearheaded by former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the fund seeks to address fundraising challenges faced by entrepreneurs in these burgeoning industries.
The financial backing for i-DICE includes a $170 million contribution from AfDB, $116 million from the Agence Francaise de Developpement, and a $70 million investment from the Islamic Development Bank. The implementation of the project experienced a delay due to Nigeria’s government transition, but progress is now being made.
Lamin Barrow explained, “We were caught up by the transition of government, and you have to allow the new government to settle in. The steering committee, chaired by the vice-president with membership from the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Investments, Communication, Science and Technology, Information and Culture, met and received a briefing. We are now at the point of disbursement, and the team has assembled the necessary procurement work.”
Furthermore, the project has garnered support from the French government, with the approval and financial commitment of millions of dollars. French Minister Catherine Colonnade, during her recent visit to Nigeria, expressed support for the program, emphasizing its potential to create 65,000 startups in the country.
Lamin Barrow affirmed the collaboration with the French government, stating, “Last week, the French minister that visited Nigeria signed the agreement for the co-financing as DICE is being co-financed by the French Development Agency and the Islamic Development Bank. All the processes are now virtually completed. The important thing is that the fund and the recruitment processes for a fund manager will soon occur. The fund will be independently managed by the fund manager who will also contribute to the fund by supporting start-ups.”
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