AfDB grants $80 million approval for Ekiti knowledge zone project

0
59
AfDB grants $80 million approval for Ekiti knowledge zone project
AfDB grants $80 million approval for Ekiti knowledge zone project

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has granted approval for an $80 million loan to fund the Ekiti Knowledge Zone project in Nigeria, as confirmed by a statement on the bank’s website.

The initiative aims to foster digital innovation and entrepreneurship, with a target of creating 26,000 jobs and contributing approximately $14 million in net economic benefits annually.

The project’s focus is on attracting a diverse range of businesses, including tech startups, business process outsourcing firms, fabrication and production companies, research institutes, and corporate back-office operations, to establish themselves in the designated zone.

The initiative includes the establishment of the Ekiti State Innovation Fund to provide financial support to early-stage startups.

“The project also advances government-enabling policies and the establishment of the Ekiti State Innovation Fund to provide pre-seed and early growth stage funding to promote entrepreneurship, innovation, and investment.

The Fund is expected to mobilize investments into more than 50 seed and early growth start-ups,” the statement noted.

The Ekiti Knowledge Zone aims to impact over 19,000 youths and attract investment commitments from at least fifteen firms, potentially generating revenues of around $10.8 million.

Infrastructure development in the zone will encompass a 20-hectare green technology park and essential services such as roads, electricity, water supply, and wastewater treatment facilities.

Part of the project’s scope involves providing ICT training to nurture talents and encourage entrepreneurship among young people.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $94 million, with the AfDB contributing $80 million, and the Ekiti state government providing the remaining $14 million as counterpart funding.

Lamin Barrow, the AfDB’s Group Director General of the Nigeria Country Department, expressed, “The Ekiti Knowledge Zone Project design responds to the requirements of technology firms and prospective investors, drawing insights from good practices of similar initiatives in the continent and globally, including lessons learned from Bank-financed projects such as the Cabo Verde and Senegal technology parks.”