AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) is planning to mobilise $520m to co-finance the first phase of an ambitious special agricultural processing programme in Nigeria aimed at boosting farm output.
Designed to be part of a major economic diversification plan that involves the founding of special agro-industrial processing zones, the programme will be rolled out across 18 African countries. Lamin Barrow, AfDB’s Nigeria country director, said the bank and its development partners are working hard to open the industrial estates across the six geo-political zones that make up the nation.
It a recent meeting to discuss the programme, representatives of the AfDB, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Islamic Development Bank, provided progress updates on the scheme, following their consultations with key stakeholders within the public and private sectors. Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s finance minister affirmed the federal government’s commitment to the initiative and providing enabling policies that could attract private sector investment in the zones.
Ms Ahmed added: “The federal government is committed to successfully implementing the programme to increase agricultural production, reduce poverty and scale up job creation across the country.”
According to Ms Ahmed, all the 36 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory will be eligible to participate in the special agro-processing zone (SAPZ) programme. She added that 20 states and the FCT had already indicated interest in participating the first phase of the scheme.
These states include Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Imo, Cross River, Ogun, Oyo, Bauchi, Lagos, Niger, Jigawa, Ekiti, Lagos, Taraba, Benue, Sokoto, Ondo, Nasarawa, Gombe and Kogi. Beth Dunford, AfDB’s vice president for agriculture, human and social development, said: “In the same manner that SAPZs have worked in other countries, it will create jobs, develop skills, and facilitate agricultural value chains development in Nigeria.”