In a move to spur the entertainment, creative, and technology sectors in the country, the Buhari administration has commenced a process that will provide the sectors with about N240 billion in financing and investment set to take off by the end of the year.
The government says the $500 million equivalent financing, which is to be sourced from the AfDB, will be used for the establishment of a $500 million fund in support of what has been named the Nigeria Innovation Programme (NIP). A report of the first draft project proposal was presented by the AfDB to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo last week. The AfDB is expected to give its approval in October.
Confirming the meeting, Laolu Akande, a Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity in the Presidency, said it is public knowledge that the vice president has spoken publicly about the $500m facility.
He added that details of how the facility will work were discussed on Thursday at a meeting presided over by Mr Osinbajo which had in attendance cabinet ministers, representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), among others.
Mr Akande explained that the plan to get the funding is an outcome of the Technology and Creativity Working Group set up few years ago with members drawn from the private and public sectors chaired by the vice president. The working group was carved out of the Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council earlier set up by President Muhammadu Buhari also chaired by the vice president.
The Nigeria Innovation Programme, NIP, proposed by the federal government, seeks to boost innovation and job creation, and foster growth in the technology and creativity entrepreneurship ecosystem.
According to Mr Akande, already nine states comprising Lagos, Osun, Edo, Cross River, Anambra, Kaduna, Adamawa and Plateau were initially selected as focus states, while Borno, Gombe and Kwara States were recommended by the Presidency for the programme.
Also PwC, which is consulting on the project during its feasibility study, considered potential innovation community and State cluster/innovation blocks in selecting more states, which resulted in the inclusion of Akwa-Ibom, Ogun, Delta, Edo, Enugu, and Oyo States.
The NIP will focus on four development pillars namely: human capital, financing, infrastructure and enabling environment.
The NIP is expected to create about 285,000 jobs in both technology and creative industries in the next five years.
Mr Osinbajo had at different times and forums assured of the establishment of a fund to boost growth in the technology and creative industries.
For example on January 27, 2020, at a town hall meeting commemorating 50 years after the end of the Nigerian civil war, the vice president said “we have listened to the voices of some of our young people in the Southeast expressing their discontent, however, we do not hear a battle cry, but rather a cry for help.
“We are determined to continue providing them with the tools and resources that will enable them to make the most of their lives. This is the reason for our collaboration with the African Development Bank, AfDB to provide a $500million facility for startups and entrepreneurial loans. This is aside from the N10billion fund set aside by the Bank of Industry for the same purpose.”
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