Tuesday, 06 April 2021 11:04

FG, AfDB to set up $500m fund for tech, creative sectors

As part of efforts to spur the creative and technology sectors, the President Muhammadu Buhari-administration has commenced the process that will pump the sectors with over N200 billion.

It was disclosed that the financing, which is specifically a $500 million to be sourced from the AfDB, has the prospect of harnessing potential in Nigeria’s creative and technology industries.

It was also gathered that the $500 million fund was in support of what has been named the Nigeria Innovation Programme (NIP) and being activated, especially with a report of the first draft project proposal presented by the AfDB and other stakeholders to the Vice President a few days ago.

Confirming the meeting, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity in the Presidency, Laolu Akande, said it was public knowledge that the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, spoke publicly about the $500 million facility.

He added that details of how the facility would work were discussed on Thursday at a meeting presided over by the VP, which had in attendance cabinet ministers, representatives of the African Development Bank (AfDB), among other stakeholders.

Akande explained that the plan to get the funding is an outcome of the Technology and Creativity Working Group set up a 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 the President also chaired by the VP.

Some of the Ministers said to have attended the meeting included the Finance Minister, Industry Trade and Investment, Information and Culture and the Communications and Digital Economy Minister. The African Development Bank was represented by Mr Lamin Barrow, its representative in Nigeria.

The Nigeria Innovation Programme, NIP, proposed by the Federal Government, will close the gaps that exist in the technology and creative industries in the country.

It will also seek to boost innovation and job creation, and foster growth in the technology and creativity entrepreneurship ecosystem.

It was gathered according to a source at the meeting that “the plan which is to collaborate with the AfDB and other finance partners to set up the $500 million fund in support of the NIP is on course.”

Already nine States including Abuja, and 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.

 

SOURCE: THEGUARDIAN

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