The African Development Bank said it will support the Federal Government efforts, being led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on the Digital Nigeria, stating that it is preparing investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (I-DICE) program,with the sum of $600m
The investment, according to the Bank, will be co-financed with several partners, which will promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital technology
and creative industries.
The President of the AfDB, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, who stated this noted that Nigeria should take the FinTech industry as a major driver of the economy and invest heavily in digital infrastructure.
Speaking at the Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat, in Abuja with theme, ‘Nigeria’s Economic Resurgence:
Learning from the African Experience,’ Adesina said an economically resurgent Nigeria must be a more peaceful and secure Nigeria.
He said currently, more than ever, several African countries are spending a significant share of their budgets on security, displacing the resources needed for development.
Increasingly, the AfDB Boss explained further that the investible space in many parts of Africa, including Nigeria, is shrinking due to insecurity and insurgencies.
Yet, he said the resources are not there to enable countries to cope with these rising challenges.
“We must recognize the strong linkages between security, investment, growth, and development.
“That is why the African Development Bank is working on developing Security-Indexed Investment Bonds to help African countries and Regional Economic Communities to mobilize resources to tackle these challenges.
“The Security-Indexed Investment Bonds will raise funds on the global capital markets to support countries to upgrade their security architecture, rebuild damaged infrastructure in conflict-affected areas, rebuild social infrastructure and protect zones where there are strategic investments,” he added.
The AfDB Boss also said the bank has mobilised the sum of $520m for the development of Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) across the country.
These, according to the Bank, will be zones enabled with infrastructure and logistics, to support private sector food and agriculture companies to locate close to the areas of production, and to process and add value to food and agricultural commodities.
Adesina said the bank is working closely with the Federal Government, seven State Governments, the Federal Capital Territory, the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Trade, Industry and Investment, Water Resources, and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) on the design of these Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones.
The zones, he noted, are expected to create at least 1.5 million jobs.
He said, “Nigeria should establish Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones all across the country. The e-Wallet System and Growth Enhancement Scheme, to boost farmers access to productivity enhancing farm inputs should be reinstated and enshrined in law. Policy reversals should be avoided.
“We must unleash the potential of the youth of Nigeria. Today, over 75 per cent of the population is under the age of 35. More decisive actions are needed to turn this demographic asset into an economic dividend.
“A young, productive, youthful population, with access to education, skills, social protection, affordable housing, and medical care, will power Nigeria’s economy, now and well into the future.
“We must move away from so-called ‘youth empowerment programs.’ The youth do not need handouts. They need investments.