Nigeria has become a go-to destination for tech and creative startups, and it’s not hard to see why. The country has produced successful tech companies such as Flutterwave, and Paystack. The creative industry has also grown in recent years, with the music and movie industries being the most notable. The industry’s impressive growth in recent years has been driven by a growing youth population, and increasing internet penetration. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, Nigeria is one of the top five African countries for the number of patent applications filed in the tech sector. This is why the African Development Bank, is investing $170 million to boost Nigeria’s tech and creative startups through a program it launched called the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises “iDICE”. The investment is a joint partnership that involves the  French government, through the Agence Française de Développement, the federal government of Nigeria, through the Bank of Industry and other private and public funders, with each funding participation bringing the total amount of funds raised to $618 million.

The iDICE program is designed to support digital and creative entrepreneurs in Nigeria, by providing them with access to affordable finance, training, and mentorship. A program like this is significant for Nigeria’s tech and creative industries, as it will provide the necessary resources and support to foster innovation and growth in these sectors. The investment can help startups overcome some of the challenges they face, such as access to finance, infrastructure, training, and mentorship, which have often hindered their growth and success. 

The investment can also have a significant impact on Nigeria’s economy, as the tech and creative industries are critical drivers of economic growth and job creation. These industries have the potential to create jobs and opportunities for Nigeria’s youth, who are often left out of the formal economy. Nigeria has a huge population, with over 200 million people. This means that there is a large market for tech and creative startups to tap into. According to Jobberman, Nigeria’s creative sector could create an additional 2.7 million jobs in 2025. The film industry alone, Nollywood, employed 300,000 talents employed in 2021. It is also the second-largest film industry in terms of quantity globally, after India’s Bollywood. The AfDB’s decision to invest in Nigeria’s tech and creative startups is a testament to the country’s potential as a hub for innovation and creativity. 

It’s not just Nigeria that stands to benefit from AfDB’s investment in tech and creative startups. As one of the top hubs for innovation and creativity, the success of such a program in Nigeria could inspire investments in other African nations’ tech and creative industries. Tech and creativity have been Africa’s leading light in the past few years. The startup ecosystem, raised a total investment of over $3 billion, last year despite multiple global crises. However, while the tech and creative industries have seen impressive growth, there is still much work to be done, to enable these sectors to foster innovation and growth for the country and continent at large. The recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank has raised concerns about the impact it will have on Nigerian tech startups that were working with the bank. Consistent investments like these in the industry could be the glimmer of hope startups need that they can continue to thrive.

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