Nigeria Launches $618 Million Fund To Support Tech Innovation

The Nigerian tech industry has experienced massive growth and expansion over the past decade, with companies like Flutterwave and Paystack becoming some of the best tech startups and gaining recognition abroad. 

According to the national bureau of statistics, the information and communication sector increased by 10% in 2022 and contributed heavily to Nigeria’s GDP. In contrast, the oil industry experienced a fall in growth and made up only 5.67% of the total GDP in 2022. 

Due to this growth and development, the Nigerian government has launched a program to help tech startups and young innovators achieve their dreams, and the program will be known as iDICE

iDICE is an acronym for Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises. It is a government initiative launched on March 14, 2023, to promote entrepreneurship in the digital and creative industries, focusing on creating jobs for the young. 

The iDICE intends to offer startup companies both financial and non-financial help, with a focus on job development. The program has been funded with $618 million that came from private and public investors such as: 

  • The African Development Bank (AfDB), which provides $170 million. 
  • The Bank of Industry, representing the Federal Government of Nigeria, provides $45 million, which will come as a loan for qualified startups. 
  • The Islamic Development Bank provides $70 million. 
  • The Agence Française de Développement, an agency representing the French government, provides $116 million. 
  • The funds mobilized from other private and institutional investors (iDICE fund) provide $217 million. 

Vice President Yemi Osibanjo stated during the launch, “I believe it is now imperative to pursue a constructive strategy for innovation in Africa by coordinating efforts among all parties to scale up investment and create initiatives that create talent pipelines that support the expansion of innovation in Africa.” 

The iDICE was created to support young Nigerian innovators between the ages of 15 and 35 who are building micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) and startups in the tech industry. 

This program and funding will go a long way in developing the Nigerian tech community, as many tech entrepreneurs and innovators express the expectation that it will give young investors in the tech and creative sectors much-needed support without them seeking support and funds internationally. 

What is your take on the iDICE program and its impact on the Nigerian economy? What are the best ways you see the funds being distributed among tech startups and creatives? 

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Photo by AfDB

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