FG’s I-DICE Programme to Support Tech Startups with $600m

by Hotnewsinnaija.com
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As part of efforts to improve the technology and creative sectors in Nigeria, the Federal Government has launched the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) Programme with $600 million fund to support young entrepreneurs in the sector.

Speaking at the launch at the State House, Abuja, yesterday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, stressed the need for government to support startups and businesses in creative, innovative and technology-enabled venture by providing them with the required funding and infrastructure as well as an enabling environment for them to thrive.

“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 noted that I-DICE was supported by funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) contributing $170 million, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) $70 million and the Agence Française de Développement, $116 million, while the Federal Government will provide $45 million through the Bank of Industry loans for qualifying start-ups and another $271m is expected from private sector and institutional investors.

Highlighting the significance of the programme, Osinbajo said that the aim was beyond just job creation but a coordinated effort by the government at bringing a positive revolution in the tech sector.

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.”

Further highlighting the administration’s efforts in supporting the growth in tech, the Vice President noted that the government had 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.”

He added that “The Group has influenced various government policies for the growth of the economy. For instance, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, working with NITDA has established a Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, the Ministry has also led the coordination of our partnership with Microsoft to increase Nigeria’s technology talent pipeline by training five million Nigerians in various technology skills”.

Osinbajo also recalled the signing of Nigeria’s Startup Bill into law by President Muhammadu Buhari making it the ‘Nigeria Startup Act’ and highlighted the essence of collaboration between the private sector and government in scaling up such programmes.

The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina commended the government’s commitment to the actualization of the initiative as well as positioning Nigeria as Africa’s leading digital technology centre adding that i-DICE Programme is timely, strategic, and transformative as it will build the ecosystems to support more competitive entrepreneurs powered by digital technologies.

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