As part of the Nigeria Innovation Programme (NIP), the Federal Government has announced a plan to finance the creative and technology industries with up to N240 billion ($500 million). The funds, to be sourced through the African Development Bank (AfDB), is aimed at harnessing the potential of the two lucrative industries that have so far made headlines.
This was confirmed by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity in the Presidency, Laolu Akande, who also revealed that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo met with cabinet members and representatives of the AfDB to discuss the process for disbursing the funds. Akande described it as the culmination of the Technology and Creativity Advisory Group, a private-public partnership established in 2018 to “signal the importance that the Federal Government attaches to these sectors.”
The investment in these two industries comes as no surprise—the film industry Nollywood is the country’s second-largest employer of labor after agriculture, while the Nigerian tech startup ecosystem raised a combined $120.6 million in 2020 from over 100 international investors amidst a global pandemic.
The government’s intervention is aimed at speeding up the growth already being experienced in the industries. The project will focus on four development pillars: financing, infrastructure, human capital, and enabling environment. Within the next five years, the NIP is expected to create 285,000 jobs in the sectors.
“We are determined to continue providing (the youth) with tools and resources that will enable them to make the most of their lives,” the Vice President said. “This is the reason for our collaboration with the African Development Bank, AfDB, to provide a $500 million facility for startups and entrepreneurial loans.”
Nine states have already been identified as potential beneficiaries of the funding. They include Lagos, Osun, Edo, Cross River, Anambra, Kaduna, Adamawa, Plateau, and the FCT. In addition to these, the Presidency has recommended the inclusion of Gombe, Borno, and Kwara States. The AfDB is expected to give the final approval for funding in October 2021, after which the project will officially commence.
Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a journalist, social critic and literary enthusiast. He is the recepient of the 2017 Fisayo Soyombo National Essay Prize, the 2020 Speculative Literary Foundation’s Diverse Writers Grant and the 2020 K&L Prize for African Literature. He is the founder of SprinNG, a platform dedicated to the development of young African writers.