Nigeria: AfDB Approves $80 Million Loan to Promote Digital Innovation

By : Adoni Conrad Quenum

Date : vendredi, 01 décembre 2023 13:53

Nigeria has one of the most mature technology ecosystems in Africa. To further bolster the attractiveness of this ecosystem, the Nigerian government is forging strategic partnerships with key players in the industry.  

On Wednesday, November 29, the African Development Bank (AfDB) announced the approval of an $80 million loan for the Ekiti Knowledge Zone (EKZ) incubation program. The funds will be used to build a 20-hectare green technology park and service infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water supply and wastewater treatment facilities. The Ekiti State Government will finance the project to the tune of $14.8 million, with a total project cost of $94.8 million.

"The Ekiti Knowledge Zone Project design responds to the requirements of technology firms and prospective investors as indicated during the preparation phase, lessons learned from similar Bank-financed projects such as the Cabo Verde and Senegal technology parks, and drew insights from good practices of similar initiatives in the continent and globally," said Lamin Barrow, AfDB’s Director General of Nigeria Country Department.

The EKZ incubation program aims to provide an enabling environment for research and development, information and communication technologies, incubation, and acceleration of technology startups, as well as pre-seed and seed financing. The goal is to transform EKZ into a major technology hub that could create some 26,000 jobs and generate net economic benefits worth $14 million a year.

In April 2023, the federal government granted EKZ "free zone" status, which will enable private investors to benefit from various advantages such as the free repatriation of capital, profits, and dividends by foreign investors; free land during the construction phase; tax exemptions; import and export duty waivers; and expatriate quotas for companies operating locally.

"This funding will play a crucial role in realizing our vision for EKZ [...] EKZ is not just about buildings; it’s about building communities, generating thousands of jobs, including opportunities for women and youth, while fuelling the State’s progress," said Akintunde Oyebode, Ekiti State Commissioner for Finance.

Adoni Conrad Quenum


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