On Tuesday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo introduced a $600 million initiative aimed at supporting young Nigerian entrepreneurs in the technology and creative sectors. The program is designed for individuals aged 15-35 who are involved in early-stage creative, innovative, and technology-driven ventures.
Osinbajo stated that Nigeria’s technology ecosystem comprises nearly 30% of Africa’s funded ventures, with over 180 startups. He also called on African governments and the private sector to increase their support for innovation across the continent.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo unveiled the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme (I-DICE) during an event at the State House Banquet Hall in Abuja.
The Vice President emphasized the need for a coordinated approach to innovation in Africa, involving collaboration among stakeholders to expand investments and develop programs that create a supportive environment and talent pipelines.
While I-DICE aims to address challenges such as access to capital and capacity limitations for startups, Osinbajo said that more needs to be done to scale up these programs. He stressed the importance of government support for startups and small businesses, as well as increased funding from investors.
The total funding for I-DICE is $618 million, with contributions from the African Development Bank ($170 million), the Agence Française de Développement ($116 million), and the Islamic Development Bank ($70 million). An additional $271 million is anticipated from private sector and institutional investors, while the Nigerian Federal Government will provide a counterpart contribution of $45 million through Bank of Industry loans for eligible startups.
Osinbajo expressed gratitude to development partners for their collaboration and praised the African Development Bank President, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, for his efforts in implementing the initiative.