Osinbajo Tasks Digital Entrepreneurs to Utilise i-DICE Programme

March 16, 2023
digital entrepreneurs

By Adedapo Adesanya

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has tasked creatives and digital entrepreneurs to take advantage of the newly launched Investment In Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme (i-DICE) programme, which has a pool of $618 million.

Speaking at the launch of the programme on Tuesday, March 14, the VP said it marked an exciting moment as it would bring about a coordinated approach towards innovation on the African continent.

“After nearly five years of work with some of the most patriotic Africans and African institutions and several in the local technology and entertainment ecosystem, we arrive at the launch of the i-DICE programme, the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme,” he said.

The i-DICE Programme would be supervised by the Bank of Industry (BoI) and supported by our partners – African Development Bank (AfDB), Islamic Development Bank (ISDB), and French Development Agency.

Out of the $ 618 million, the AfDB will provide $170 million, the Agence Francaise de Development will inject $100 million, and the IsDB will provide $ 70 million in co-financing.

The 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 $271 million from the private sector and institutional investors,” the VP revealed.

“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,” he added.

“I think it is important to mention that private capital has usually been ahead of government efforts. And I think the private sector ought to be commended for being so innovative, especially here in Nigeria.

He noted that the influx of private capital had enabled start-ups to expand operations and create new jobs while contributing significantly towards the country’s GDP growth.

“There are, of course, thousands of start-ups that have used private funds or debt that goes unrecorded. I think they probably constitute the majority in our country,” he said, noting that the country has seen a consistent rise in venture capital investments in the technology ecosystem.

In this regard, “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.”

He explained that the federal government, on its part, would continue to advance causes to provide support to the innovation ecosystem.

“I believe that over the tenure of this programme, we would see significant additional support and investments from other partners and stakeholders across sectors, leading to an increase in start-up investments, growth of new Unicorns, and training more talent on the continent.”

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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