The African Development Bank has approved a loan of $170 million to finance digital and creative enterprises in Africa’s biggest economy. The investment according to AfDB is a Nigerian government initiative to promote investment in digital and creative industries, as part of its efforts to build back better, greener, and more inclusively, to create sustainable jobs for the teeming youthful population.
Akinwumi Adesina the president of AfDB said while commenting on the project that governments have a much greater role than just enacting policies. “They need to be innovative and create an enabling environment that includes infrastructure and de-risking to harness private sector investments in key growth sectors,” he said.
The program which targets more than 68 million Nigerians aged 15 to 35 years who are promoters of innovative, early-stage, and technology-enabled start-ups or leaders of creative industry MSMEs, is co-financed by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
The investment in the Digital and Creative Enterprises Program will also support the young entrepreneurs through enterprise support organizations, groups that support, train, and sometimes fund entrepreneurs including innovation hubs, accelerators, venture capital and private equity firms.
According to the Bank, the initiative with the capacity to stimulate investments in 226 technology and creative start-ups and provide non-financial services to 451 digital technology and small and medium-sized enterprises, is expected to create 6.1 million direct and indirect jobs, of which the Bank’s financing will support the creation of about 850,000 jobs.
“The value added to the Nigerian economy connected to the program is estimated at $6.4 billion. The program will boost Nigeria’s venture capital market through independently managed funds focusing on digital and creative enterprises. These funds aim to attract an initial capitalization of $433 million by crowding in private and public sector financing,” it stated.
Beth Dunford, the bank’s vice president for Agriculture, Human and Social Development noted that given that tech-enabled enterprise cut across all the economic growth sectors, the program’s focus on the digital sector will deepen Nigeria’s job creation efforts. “The program is among the latest series of our operations meant to bolster the implementation of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy,” he said.