The Federal Government of Nigeria has launched a $672 million fund to support tech and creative sectors for young entrepreneurs in the country. 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo launched the $672 million fund under the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) programme in the federal capital Abuja on Tuesday.  

African Development Bank will put in $170 million, $116 million will come from Agence Francaise de Developpement and another $70 million from Islamic Development Bank, the presidency said. 

The government through the Bank of Industry Nigeria will release $45 million while the private sector pledged $271 million. 

Supporting innovation: Delivering a keynote address at the event, the Vice President said: 

  • “I think 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”. 

Under i-DICE, constraints such as access to capital, and capacity limitation of Start-ups would be effectively addressed. But according to Osinbajo, more needs to be done to scale up such programmes. 

  • “The government must provide more support for startups and small businesses, and investors must provide more funding. This is why the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme is important,” he said. 

Speaking on behalf of the Nigerian government, the Vice President thanked the development partners for their collaboration. 

Also commending the efforts of the development partners, Osinbajo noted that the programme’s design supports innovation across very critical pillars including policy, infrastructure, access to finance and talent. These pillars have been identified as very critical to the growth and sustenance of innovation on the continent. 

Government’s efforts: Speaking about the present administration’s efforts in supporting the growth in the tech and innovation sectors, the Vice President noted: 

  • “As a government, we have consistently provided support to the innovation ecosystem over the last 8 years. In 2018, we established the Technology and Creativity Advisory Group. The Advisory Group brings together stakeholders in the technology and creative industries, to contribute directly to policy formulation, articulation and the design of the technology and creative sectors of our economy.”