The African Development Bank (AfDB) has finalized plans to disburse $618 million for Nigeria’s digital and creative enterprise (i-DICE) initiative. The initiative aims to foster investments in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and creative sectors to create sustainable and inclusive job opportunities.

The Nigerian government is currently appointing a fund manager for the project, which has been delayed due to the country’s recent political transition. The AfDB’s Director-General for Nigeria, Lamin Barrow, emphasized that the project is now ready for disbursement and that procurement activities are underway.

Out of the total $618 million fund, Nigeria will contribute $45 million through the Bank of Industry (BoI). The AfDB will add $170 million, the Agence Francaise de Development will provide $116 million, and the Islamic Development Bank will invest $70 million.

The i-DICE program is expected to stimulate investments in 226 technology and creative startups and provide non-financial services to 451 digital technology and small and medium enterprises. The program is also expected to create 6.1 million direct and indirect jobs.

Barrow highlighted the recent progress made on the project, including high-level meetings and the signing of a co-financing agreement by the French minister during a visit to Nigeria. He also emphasized that the fund will soon be operational by appointing an independent fund manager.

The i-DICE initiative is a significant step towards promoting digital and creative entrepreneurship in Nigeria. The project is expected to create jobs, boost the economy, and contribute to the country’s overall development.