The African Development Bank (AfDB) has finalized the 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 the AfDB, shared with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Marrakesh, Morocco, on Sunday that the Nigerian government is currently in the stages of hiring a fund manager for the project.
Nigeria launched a 618 million-dollar technology fund for young investors under the iDICE programme on March 14.
The fund, introduced by ex-Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, sought to assist investors grappling with fundraising challenges in Nigeria’s technology and creative sectors.
The AfDB plans to contribute $170 million, the Agence Francaise de Developpement is set to contribute $116 million, and the Islamic Development Bank will invest $70 million.
Barrow said the implementation of the project was staggered because of Nigeria’s government transition.
- “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.
- “This has to do with the recruitment of the transaction adviser and the Expression of Interest for firms that want to manage the DICE funds,’’ he said.
Collaboration with the French Government
In addition, the project also got the French government’s approval, with a financial commitment of millions of dollars.
Recall that the French Minister, Catherine Colonnade, who visited Nigeria last week pledged support to the programme, noting that it can create 65,000 startups in the country.
Barrow, the Country Director-General for Nigeria at the AfDB, also agreed with the minister, saying there is a collaborative effort between the bank and the French government in investing in the project.
- “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,’’ Barrow said.