The African Development Bank (AfDB) has finalized plans to release $618 million for Nigeria’s digital and creative enterprise (i-DICE) initiative. Lamin Barrow, the AfDB’s Director-General for Nigeria, shared this update in a recent interview with NAN in Marrakesh, Morocco. He revealed that the Nigerian government is appointing a fund manager for this project.
The i-DICE program, a federal government initiative, fosters investments in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and creative sectors to create sustainable and inclusive job opportunities. Last month, the Nigerian government announced the commencement of the $617.7 million investment for i-DICE.
Out of the total $618 million fund, Nigeria will contribute $45 million through the Bank of Industry (BoI). The AfDB will add $170 million, the Agence Francaise de Development will provide $116 million, and the Islamic Development Bank will invest $70 million.
Barrow mentioned that the project’s rollout has been phased due to the transition in Nigeria’s government. He noted, “The change in government necessitated a pause to allow the new administration to settle.” He detailed that the project’s steering committee, led by the vice president and comprising members from various ministries, has been briefed and is ready for disbursement.
The AfDB Director-General explained that procurement activities are underway, including hiring a transaction advisor and calling for Expressions of Interest from firms interested in managing the i-DICE funds. Barrow highlighted the recent progress, including high-level meetings and the signing of a co-financing agreement by the French minister during a visit to Nigeria, indicating the French Development Agency and Islamic Development Bank’s involvement in co-financing DICE.
Barrow emphasized that the fund will soon be operational by appointing an independent fund manager, who will also support startups as part of their contribution to the fund.