The French government has committed $116 million to support startups in Nigeria through the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (I-DICE) program.
The agreement was signed on November 3 by Yusuf Tuggar, the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, and Catherine Colonnade, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in Abuja.
The I-DICE program is a Nigerian government initiative aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital technology and creative industry sectors. The program is expected to create 65,000 startups, 150,000 direct jobs, and 1.3 million indirect jobs.
The French Development Agency (AFD) is contributing 100 million euros (equivalent to $116 million) to the I-DICE program. The other funding partners include the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB), and the Bank of Industry (BOI).
In her remarks at the agreement signing ceremony, Colonnade said that the I-DICE program is a “bold and ambitious” initiative that has the potential to transform the Nigerian economy.
“This program is about investing in the future of Nigeria,” she said. “It’s about investing in the creativity and ingenuity of the Nigerian people.”
Colonnade also noted that the I-DICE program is aligned with the French government’s priorities in Nigeria, which include supporting economic growth, job creation, and youth development.
“We are committed to working with the Nigerian government to make the I-DICE program a success,” she said.
Tuggar said that the I-DICE program is a “game-changer” for Nigeria.
“This program will help us to create jobs, boost our economy, and build a more prosperous future for our people,” he said.
Tuggar also expressed his gratitude to the French government for its support for the I-DICE program.
“We are grateful to the French government for their partnership and for their belief in the potential of Nigeria,” he said.
Bosun Tijani, representing Vice President Kashim Shettima said the I-DICE program is a testament to France’s commitment to the growth of startups in Nigeria.
“This funding from the AFD for the I-DICE programme is a testament to France’s historical commitment to the growth of startups which is evidenced by its position as a leading startup destination in Europe,” he said.
The I-DICE program is expected to train two million young people in digital technology and creative skills. The program will also provide access to financing for startups and small businesses in these sectors.