AfDB, others invest $618m in digital, creative programme in Nigeria

The African Development Bank (AfDB), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the French Development Agency (FDA) are investing 618 million dollars in the Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme (I-DICE) in Nigeria.

President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum on the sideline of the 77th United Nations General Assembly, New York.

Adesina said the programme would support the creation of 225 creative start-ups and 451 digital technologies small and medium sized enterprises, or digital SMEs.

The AfDB president added that the enterprises would create 6.1 million jobs and add 6.4 billion dollars to the economy.

“​That is the power of international partnerships working for Nigeria. Investors must recognise this and invest.

“The future is not just digital, the future will be driven by digital revolution.

“Today, Nigeria has five of the seven unicorns in Africa and raised almost 1.4 billion dollars of the total of four billion dollars raised by Fintech companies across Africa in 2021.

“When you think of financial services digital innovations, think Nigeria, with Flutterwave, OPay, Andela and Interswitch holding the status of unicorn companies, worth at least one billion dollars each.”

Adesina also said the bank had invested 4.5 billion dollars in Nigeria, adding that the country remained an attractive investment destination.

He further said bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and IsDB had provided 540 million dollars to develop Special Agro-industrial processing zones to help unlock the agricultural potential in Nigeria.,

“This financing will boost food and agribusiness value chains across Nigeria and make Nigeria more competitive,” he said.

He also called for increased international partnerships in Nigeria, adding that the bank had invested 44 billion dollars in infrastructure in Africa over the past six years.

Furthermore, Adesina said the growth in Nigeria would depend on its ability to fix its infrastructure deficits.

“The National Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan shows that Nigeria will need a total financing of 759 billion dollars to support infrastructure over a 23-year horizon (2020-2043).

“These covers tackling the crippling lack of energy to power the economy, including power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure, water and sanitation, and transport infrastructure.”

Moreover, he said Nigeria had a debt level of N42.84 trillion or 103 billion dollars with an external debt level of N16.61 trillion or about 40 billion dollars.

He said the country needed ​help to tackle its debt burden.

“​International partnerships on debt are helping Africa, and Nigeria.

“The issuance of special drawing rights (SDRs) by the International Monetary Fund of 650 billion dollars helped to provide liquidity support to countries, with Africa receiving only 33 billion dollars. African countries need more.”

He recalled that the African Heads of State and Government made a call for developed countries to re-channel an additional 100 billion SDRs to Africa.

He said it would go a long way in helping to reduce the debt burden.

“Allocated SDRs through the bank, as called for by the Heads of State and Government, will be leveraged by four times by the bank.

“This will deliver more financial resources for Nigeria and other African countries.

“Nigeria and other African countries need debt relief. They cannot run up the hill carrying a backpack full of sand,” he said.

The AfDB president also stressed the need for international partnerships to tackle climate change.

He said Africa, which only accounted for three per cent of total carbon emissions suffered more from the negative effects of climate change.

Adesina also reiterated that the bank and the Global Center on Adaptation had launched the African Adaptation Acceleration Programme to mobilise 25 billion dollars for climate adaptation for Africa.

He further urged the Nigerian Government to fix the security situation in the country to attract foreign direct investment.

“Capital does not like to be troubled. Ultimately, investment capital must be made comfortable. Only then can it be attracted.

“Investment capital in the quantum required can only be attracted in the presence of secure environments.

“Essentially, investors vote with their money about where to have it positioned.

“With the right conditions in place, we can confidently say Nigeria is a great investment destination,” he said.

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