Abuja, Nov. 4, 2023: The Federal Government on Friday signed an agreement with France on the Digital and Creative Enterprise (I-DISE) programme aimed at promoting employment opportunities in Nigeria.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar and the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of France, Catherine Colonnade signed the bilateral agreement at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja on behalf of both countries.
The agreement was also witnessed by Bosun Tijani the Minister of Communications who represented the Vice President of Nigeria, Kashim Shettima.
Tuggar said the I-DICE programme is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria, spearheaded by the Office of the Vice President and aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital technology and creative industry sectors.
According to the minister, with a focus on job creation, the programme is set to significantly impact young Nigerians, by assisting them to create sustainable employment opportunities, develop high value-added industries and contribute to the development of the Nigerian economy.
He said the programme would train two million young people, whilst encouraging them to structure their own ecosystem, through access to financing for the creation of innovative businesses and start-ups.
Tuggar said the programme is being financed by the French Development Agency (AFD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB) & the Bank of Industry (BOI).
He said of the 600 million dollar value of I-DICE, the AFD is contributing 100 million euros (equivalent to $116 million).
He added that the programme would also receive funding and support from the private sector and institutional investors adding that the Bank of Industry, as the Implementing Agency, will coordinate the day-to-day activities of the project.
Colonnade thanked all the partners and co-financers including the l’Agence Française de Développement, bien sûr.
She said the purpose of this ambitious programme is to support young entrepreneurs and innovators.
She added that the programme will promote the employability of Nigerian youth, enable Nigeria to boost the capacities of its very promising digital technology and creative industries and help thousands of young Nigerian entrepreneurs to unleash their talents.
“Those digital technology and creative industries have indeed enormous potential to create jobs and spur economic growth in Nigeria.
“We are very pleased that the French Agency for Development is stepping into these sectors, enabling us to scale up significantly our actions through the I-DICE programme,’’ she said.
According to her, the programme is expected to include nearly two million youth in the training sessions of which 40 per cent would be women.
“The programme will create more than 65,000 start-ups, 150,000 direct jobs in the technology and creative industries sectors and approximately 1.3 million indirect jobs.’’
Speaking on behalf of the vice president, Tijani said Shettima champions youth development and the Nigerian government’s efforts to boost the employability of young people by focusing on promising careers in the digital, cultural and creative industries.
“As part of our efforts to stimulate the growth of the Nigerian economy and mainstream the application of technology in critical sectors, we welcome the support of the French government as they collaborate with us to leapfrog technological advancements for the benefit of our startup ecosystem.
“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 programme and the launching of France’s contribution through the signature of the Financing Agreement between the AFD and FG are perfectly in line with the existing political will and momentum to advance young Nigerians.
He added that the programme falls within AFD’s strategy to promote skill development and strengthen the supply and quality of entrepreneurial training in these high-potential sectors.