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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on Tuesday unveiled a $600m programme for young Nigerians in the technology and creative sectors.

The programme targets young Nigerians from ages 15-35 who are entrepreneurs and involved in the early stages of creative, innovative and technology-enabled ventures.

According to Osinbajo, Nigeria’s technology ecosystem accounts for almost 30 per cent of Africa’s funded ventures with no fewer than 180 startups.

He also urged African governments and the organised private sector to do more to support the growth of innovation in the continent.

According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice President spoke at the presidential unveiling of the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme, held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.

The statement is titled ‘$600m for young Nigerians in technology, creative sectors ready as Osinbajo unveils scheme.’

Osinbajo said, “It is now imperative to commence a coordinated approach towards innovation on the continent, bringing together all stakeholders to coordinate efforts at scaling up investments and building programmes that provide the right enabling environment and produce talent pipelines that support the growth of innovation on the continent.”

While the I-DICE initiative would remove constraints such as access to capital, and capacity limitation of Start-ups, the VP said more needed to be done to scale up such programmes.

“The government must provide more support for startups and small businesses, and investors must provide more funding.This is why the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme is important,” he said.

He revealed that “the total fund is $618m, out of which the AFDB provides $170million, the Agence Francaise de development $116m and the Islamic Development Bank will provide $70 million in co-financing.”

Another $271m is expected from private sector and institutional investors, he noted.

The Federal Government of Nigeria will also make a counterpart contribution of $45m through the Bank of Industry loans for qualifying start-ups.

Osinbajo thanked the development partners for their collaboration and the AfDB President, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, for his role in implementing the idea.

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