- AfDB estimates that the size of global digital wealth will skyrocket from $217 billion in 2022 to over $1 trillion by 2031.
- The Investments in Digital and Creative Enterprises programme launched in Abuja ushering in a new era for the continent.
- Nigeria accounts for almost 30% of Africa’s funded ventures, with at least 180 startups.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched The Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (I-DICE) program in Abuja. This marks one of the latest initiatives to boost Africa’s digital transformation which the AfDB estimates will generate $712 billion by 2050 in Africa and $1 trillion in global value by 2030.
This program comes at a defining moment as Africa expands its exports of digital and creative services beyond the continent spurring the rise of new unicorn startups.
The I-DICE is an initiative that partners with the Federal Government of Nigeria. It aims to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in digital technology. The program seeks to find African tech innovators within the country and support them, eventually enabling continuous economic growth. The program’s primary purpose is to tap into Africa’s vast human capital. It accomplishes this by creating jobs for the unemployed youth of Africa.
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Other partners that are part of the program include Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) and Islamic Development Bank with the Bank of Industry designated as the executing agency.
Akinwumi Adesina, president of AfDB, said that the potential of Africa’s digital economy is quite astounding. He claimed that Africa’s digital economy will rise from $115 billion to $712 billion by 2050. This will effectively place it among the world’s top economies. He further elaborated that the estimated size of global digital wealth would skyrocket from $217 billion in 2022 to over $1 trillion by 2031.
With the current traction of African tech innovators, four countries will be in the limelight; Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Egypt. These four countries have made headlines in Africa’s economy for five years, each leading their respective regions.
The investment in the Digital and Creative Enterprises programme launched in Nigeria is due to the recent advancements the country has made in Africa’s digital economy, especially its fintech industry. Adesina stated that Nigeria is already experiencing the benefits of digital technologies tools and platforms. The country houses five of the eleven African unicorn startups, all profiting from Afrca’s digital transformation. They include Jumia, Interswitch, Opay, Flutterwave and Andela.
Addressing Economic growth by focusing on local talent
The Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises programme aims to address the issue of unemployment, a major hindrance to the continent’s economic growth. The rate of corruption has effectively blinded most organizations and governments from seeing the talents of African tech innovators.
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Dr Adesina stated that expanding Africa’s digital infrastructure by 10% would lead to a 2.5% annual growth in Africa’s GDP. “Furthermore, expanding Africa’s digital transformation through internet Access from its current 33% to 75% will help create 44 million online jobs with 3 million jobs in online services by 2025,” he added.
Investments made for I-DICE
The I-DICE program has raised $618 million constituting $217 million from AfDB, $100 million from Agence Francaise de Development and $70 million from the Islamic Development Bank.
In addition, the Nigerian government sought to help out its tech innovators by adding $45 million. According to Adesina, the program will also generate additional capital of between $131 million and $262 million. Thus, supporting all African tech innovators who are enthusiastic and eager to join.
The program will soon roll out a youth entrepreneurship investment bank. This new financial institution will potentially build robust financial ecosystems around the businesses for each young innovator participating in the program.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, formally inaugurated the program and stated that the country would significantly benefit from the program. Nigeria accounts for almost 30% of Africa’s funded ventures, with at least 180 startups. He further claimed that by promoting Investments in Digital and Creative Enterprises programs, African tech innovators from Nigeria and all over Africa would have the opportunity to create a name for themselves in Africa’s digital economy.
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“The I-DICE is important as it brings together the Nigerian public sector and development partners to design a programme that supports innovation across critical pillars of policy, infrastructure, access to finance and talent,” Osinbajo said.