Representatives of the Nigerian Diaspora, national networks, and youth and women’s groups hailed the African Development Bank for supporting transformational projects in the country and across Africa.
The African Development Bank forum, held in early August, is part of the institution’s ongoing mid-term review of its country strategy for Nigeria. For two days, more than 200 attendees received updates on the bank’s work in Nigeria. They discussed projects in agriculture, digital economy, creative industry, commerce and private enterprise.
Opening the forum, the African Development Bank’s Managing Director for Nigeria, Mr. Lamin Barrow, expressed hope that the interactive forum would allow for candid exchanges on the Bank’s activities, projects and programs in Nigeria.
Barrow highlighted the bank’s commitment to engaging women, youth, the diaspora and other key groups in the processes that inform the institution’s initiatives in its regional member countries. “Stakeholder groups play a key role in stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship to unlock opportunities in various sectors, including agribusiness, industry and the digital economy,” he said. -he declares.
Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria for the Sustainable Development Goals, commended the African Development Bank for its leadership in engaging national and sub-national actors. She said this high-level stakeholder engagement was timely and strategic. “This is the first time we’ve seen a multilateral development finance institution do this in the recent past,” Orelope-Adefulire said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Dr. Abike Dabri-Erewa, thanked the African Development Bank for its support to women and outreach to the Diaspora, but said more could be done. She urged the bank to host more diaspora-related initiatives and said the Diaspora Commission looked forward to working more closely with the bank in this area.
The President of the Nigeria Trade and Investment Centre, Canada, Femi Boyede, encouraged members of the Diaspora to consider coming together for a project partnership. He said it would have more impact than just focusing on remittances.
Mr. Omololu Duyile, Managing Director of Riyden Farms, an agribusiness company, expressed hope that the African Development Bank would build the capacity of Nigerian entrepreneurs and connect them better to the global market.
Ms. Lola Visser-Mabogunje, Advisor on Stakeholder Engagement to the President of the African Development Bank, said the sessions helped to increase awareness and understanding among stakeholders on the bank’s operations in Nigeria and beyond.
Other participants urged the bank to promote the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area and more effectively extend financial support and training to women, small and medium enterprises and smallholder farmers. They argued that this would enable them to take advantage of the bank’s Special Agricultural Processing Zones (SAPZ) initiative.
The African Development Bank anchors its current strategy in Nigeria on two pillars: supporting infrastructure development; and promoting social inclusion through agribusiness and skills development. The bank believes that there are many opportunities for young people and women through its financing and non-lending activities.
The bank’s current portfolio in Nigeria comprises 53 operations with a total value of $4.5 billion. This is made up of 30 sovereign operations, worth $2.7 billion, and representing 60% of total commitments. In addition, there are 22 non-sovereign operations valued at $1.8 billion.
In terms of correspondence with the 5 strategic priorities of the African Development Bank, projects that will “industrialize Africa” represent 42% of the portfolio. Projects that “will improve the quality of life of African populations” represent 25% of the portfolio. The other three strategic priorities – “Light and Power Africa”, “Feed Africa” and “Integrate Africa” represent 14%, 10% and 9% respectively.