Nigerian government and African Development Bank will soon embark on a joint establishment of a $500 million Innovation Fund to support activities in technology start-ups.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who dropped this hint today at the 22nd African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) Annual General Meeting and Conference in Lagos, said one the dominant themes in the discussions with the young entrepreneurs is the lack of affordable and patient capital.
“We are accordingly working with the African Development Bank to establish a $500million Innovation Fund that will support activities in this sector. Given the size of our economy and the potential of the technology and creative sectors, I am hopeful that capital market operators will work towards innovative financing solutions to lend further support to these two sectors.”
Professor Osinbajo insisted that capital markets must assist technology start-ups to find the resources they need to promote and grow their businesses, through an Advisory Group on Technology and Creativity created in Nigeria.
“It is evident that the African Securities Exchanges Association has a key role in our continental quest for economic growth and development. This is not only because of the vital role that capital markets play in our domestic economies but because the Association reflects the right spirit of collaboration and partnership required of African countries and their economic institutions, to bring about a more vibrant, dynamic continental economy.”
According to the Vice President, African companies that invest in the continent are expanding quite rapidly and the amount of intra-Africa foreign direct investment almost tripled in the decade till 2016, adding that this must also be innovative.
“They must innovate in response to new ideas and take advantage of unique features of the African economy. We must build on the great advances in FinTech like M-PESA, Paystack, Flutterwave and Eyo Owo, in Nigeria. Worthy of mention also are the insightful mini-packets for drinks, soap, milk, medicines, sugar and such likes that we find in the retail sector in many African countries.”