The African Development Bank (AfDB), in collaboration with other partners, has launched the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) programme aimed at creating six million jobs for Nigeria’s burgeoning youth population in the digital and creative industry.
In his address during the launch of the programme, AfDB president, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, highlighted the young population as Nigeria’s demographic advantage, noting that, this is not a conundrum that needs to be regulated but an opportunity that needs to be utilised.
“With over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population under the age of 30, Nigeria has one of the greatest assets in the world. Some would call this a challenge to be managed. I call it an opportunity to be unleashed. It’s time to do things differently.
“Yes, we gather to launch the initiative, but what we are really launching is more than this initiative. We are launching hope for the youth. We are launching platforms that will enhance the ability and capacity of Nigeria’s youth to thrive. We are launching the creation of millions of jobs. We are retooling Nigeria to be more competitive in an increasingly digital world. We are creating hope for a new Nigeria, driven by the power of the youth,” he added.
The iDICE programme has received significant funding, including $170 million from the African Development Bank, $116 million from the French government through Agence Française de Dévelopement, $70 million from the Islamic Development Bank (pending board approval), and $45 million from the Nigerian government through the Bank of Industry (BoI).
programme is also expected to attract additional funding from institutions and private sectors.
According to Dr. Adesina, the creative industry in Nigeria is still largely underutilised, despite its potential to generate revenue for the economy and create jobs. The iDICE programme aims to address this by providing tools, resources, and finances to support the growth of the sector.
The creative industry in Africa generated over $14 billion in revenue annually between 2015 and 2018 and is projected to help create close to 3 million jobs by 2025.
Nigeria has yet to fully tap into and unleash the power of its creative industry which still needs efforts to promote content creators, supportive infrastructure, and access to financing for the film, media, fashion, visual arts, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment industries.
“The I-DICE programme will help to fill some of these critical gaps by supporting enterprise and skills development, access to demand-driven digital and creative skills, entrepreneurship skills, ICT enabled infrastructure, as well as expanding access to finance,” Adesina stressed.
At its initial stage, the programme is set to support 451 digital technology start-ups, 226 creative enterprises, and 75 enterprise support organisations.