Economy

AfDB, others invest $618 million in Nigeria’s digital programme

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB), yesterday, approved a $210 million loan to Nigeria to fund agro-industrial processing zones in different parts of the country.

The African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and the French Development Agency are investing $618 million in digital programmes in Nigeria.

The programme, which is coined Digital and Creative Enterprises Program in Nigeria, will support the creation of 225 creative start-ups and create 6.1 million jobs.

The AfDB president, Akinwumi Adesina, disclosed this on Thursday during the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum, at the sidelines of the United Nations 77th General Assembly in New York, United States.

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A copy of Adesina’s speech, made available to newsmen, also revealed that the digital programme will add $6.4 billion to the economy.

In his speech, Adesina wooed world leaders on investments in Nigeria as he highlighted some successful industries in the country including Nollywood and fintechs.

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Adesina said, “Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry, is estimated at $7.2 billion today, and has become the second largest movie industry in the world, after Hollywood. Investors must recognise this and invest.

“That’s why the African Development Bank, together with the Islamic Development Bank and the French Development Agency are investing $618 million in the Digital and Creative Enterprises Program in Nigeria.

“The program will support the creation of 225 creative start-ups and 451 digital technologies small and medium sized
enterprises. They will create 6.1 million jobs and add $6.4 billion to the economy.

“That is the power of international partnerships working for Nigeria. The future is not just digital; the future will be driven by digital revolution.

“According to estimates by McKinsey, the number of tech startups in Africa has increased by three-fold to reach 5,200 companies, with half of those being fintech companies.

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“Today, Nigeria has 5 of the seven unicorns in Africa and raised almost $ 1.4 billion of the total of $4 billion 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 $1 billion each.

“Nigeria holds today impressive investments that are global references. The newly constructed $19 billion Dangote petrochemical and fertilizer complex (the world’s largest ammonia plant) in the free trade zone, with new deep seaport, is exactly the kind of massive infrastructural and industrial manufacturing that is needed to make Nigeria a regional and global player in gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel, and fertilizer value chains.

“Yes, Nigeria has several challenges, but Nigeria remains an attractive investment destination.”

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