AfDB ready to disburse $618m to Nigeria for digital and creative enterprises

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African Development Bank (AfDB) has finalised arrangements to disburse 618 million dollars to Nigeria under the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprise (i-DICE) programme.

AfDB’s Country Director-General for Nigeria, Mr Lamin Barrow told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Marrakesh, Morocco on Sunday that the Nigerian government was in the process of recruiting a fund manager for the project.

Nigeria inaugurated a 618 million-dollar technology fund for young investors under the iDICE programme on March 14.

The fund, inaugurated by former Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, aimed to support investors who struggled to raise money in Nigeria’s technology and creative sectors.

Of the 618-million-dollar fund, 45 million dollars will come from Nigeria through the Bank of Industry.

The AfDB will contribute 170 million dollars; Agence Francaise de Development will contribute 116 million dollars, while the Islamic Development Bank will invest 70 million dollars.

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.

He added that a lot of work had been done and it included advanced meeting on the first disbursement.

“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. (NAN)

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