• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Bank of Industry, AfDB, others partner to deepen digital literacy

BoI positions for more funding for businesses, urges legislative support

The Bank of Industry (BoI), African Development Bank AfDB and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) have partnered to drive digital literacy in Nigeria.

Olasupo Olusi, managing director, BoI, at the bank’s Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) stakeholders’ forum in Lagos, explained that with a youthful growing population and increasing urbanisation, activities in the digital and creative sector have continued to increase, maintaining that it is imperative to further drive productivity in the Nigerian economy.

According to him, the creative and digital economy is central to the economic strategy of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s transformation plan, as the digital and creative sector plays a key role in driving employment creation, and reducing poverty and inequality in the polity.

“With such recognition, there is a need for us to reposition our focus on ways to improve the activities and output from the digital and creative economic space. Such repositioning involves the introduction of a transformative initiative as the iDICE programme,” he said.

“In recognition of the critical role of the creative sector in economic development, the Bank of Industry in 2011 created a Creative and Digital Group to provide tailor-made financing for projects and the success story has been enormous,” he stressed.

He pointed out that opportunities like the iDICE programme continue to exist for young and vibrant entrepreneurs to start and expand their business activities, through the necessary funding, catalytic infrastructure and push for enactment of policies that will help take startup businesses to the next level.

“I am confident that if we all play our part in this programme, we will be able to support the process of creating a Nigeria that will provide decent jobs, reduce poverty and improve the standard of living for all its citizens,” he averred.

Also speaking, Tapera Jeffrey Muzira, Coordinator Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, AfDB Group, said the iDICE initiative by the federal government is timely and strategic, explaining that it is transformative as it would build the systems to support more competitive entrepreneurs powered by creativity and digital technologies.

He said the iDICE programme has the potential to generate millions of jobs for young people, stressing that Africa has the youngest population in the world, with more than 400 young people between the age range between 15 and 35 years old.

He projected that by 2050, close to one in four people in the world are estimated to come from Africa as Africa’s population is expected to double to 2.5 billion people representing a quarter of the world’s population.

He noted that the multilateral institution Development Bank for the first time in its history is investing in Africa’s youth as a corporate priority in the next 10-year strategy, which would run from 2024 to 2034.

“This is the first time that the bank is shifting investment priorities to young people at the centre of our corporate strategy. The iDICE programme is actually under our Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy which has a goal to create 25 million jobs and equip youths with industry skills within 10 years.

He added that the iDICE scheme will support 200 technology and creative startups, and provide financial services to 450 digital technologies to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.

On his part, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general, NITDA, said its Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (STRAP), is aimed at achieving digital literacy in Nigeria by 2027 focusing on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain to help Nigeria leapfrog on the global map of knowledge-driven economies.