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The Asian Development Bank has approved a $170 million loan to fund a digital program in Nigeria


The African Development Bank’s board of directors has approved $170 million to finance Nigeria’s Digital and Creative Enterprises Program (i-DICE), which is a Federal Government of Nigeria initiative to promote investment in digital and creative industries.

The program, which is part of Nigeria’s efforts to create a greener environment in order to create more sustainable jobs for the country’s teeming young population, targets over 68 million Nigerians aged 15 to 35 who are recognized as leaders of innovative, early-stage, technology-enabled start-ups or as leaders of creative sector micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Islamic Development Bank are co-funding the program (IsDB).

“Governments play a much broader role than simply making policy.” They must be innovative and create an enabling environment, including infrastructure and de-risking, in order to attract private sector investments in key growth sectors,” said African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina.

He believes that the investment in the Digital and Creative Enterprises Program will also benefit the leaders through enterprise support organizations, which include innovation hubs, accelerators, venture capital, and private equity firms.

“Bank financing of i-DICE will assist the Government initiative in further consolidating Nigeria’s position as Africa’s leading start-up investment destination and as a hub for youth entrepreneurship,” he added.

The i-DICE program is the latest in a series of ADB operations aimed at bolstering the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy. Given that tech-enabled enterprises span all economic growth sectors, the program’s emphasis on the digital sector will strengthen Nigeria’s job creation efforts.

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The initiative will encourage investments in 226 technology and creative start-ups while also providing non-financial services to 451 digital technology and small and medium-sized businesses. The program is expected to generate 6.1 million direct and indirect jobs, with the Bank’s funding supporting the creation of approximately 850,000 jobs. The program is estimated to have added $6.4 billion to the Nigerian economy.

Through independently managed funds focusing on digital and creative enterprise, the program will help to grow Nigeria’s venture capital market. These funds intend to raise $433 million in private and public sector funding as an initial capitalization.