The World Bank has inaugurated a $160m (N31.5bn) growth and employment initiative in Nigeria on Tuesday. The initiative aimed at stimulating economic activities in some sectors of the Nigerian economy.Some of the identified sectors are entertainment, Information and Communication Technology, construction, manufacturing, agro-processing, hospitality and tourism.
The initiative, to be driven by an online platform, will also offer Nigerian companies in the targeted sectors access to finance and technical assistance.
The World Bank Country Director, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud, said the project would support the efforts of the Federal Government in industrialising the country.
“The government of Nigeria has identified security, job creation and governance as three key priorities. For job creation, its focus is on the need to create three million new jobs each year, and it aims to do this through industrialisation, public works and agricultural expansion, diversifying the economy away from reliance on oil revenues.
“The Growth and Employment Project is a major initiative aimed at stimulating job creation through the growth of specific, high potential non-oil sectors. It will make resources available to help address some of the key constraints identified by business, with emphasis on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, which are widely regarded as a vital engine for growth and job creation.”
Explaining the modalities for accessing the funds, the World Bank country director explained that entrepreneurs would apply and be screened, noting that those that met the required criteria would be have access to high quality training and capacity building before they could be eligible for the grants.