The Director-General of African Development Bank’s Nigeria Country Department, Lamin Barrow, has said the bank and its development partners are raising fund targeting $520m to co-finance the first phase of Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones.
Barrow, disclosed this at a high-level briefing session held on Monday. He said that 18 African countries including Nigeria would benefit from it.
The statement was titled ‘Federal and State Governors Endorse Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones Programme: African Development Bank and partners to mobilise $520m for Phase 1’.
Barrow said, “The bank and its development partners are mobilising $520m to co-finance the first phase of the programme in Nigeria to be implemented in phases across six geopolitical zones.”
Following the consultation of the representatives of AfDB, International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Islamic Development Bank, with key stakeholders within public and private sectors have provided progress updates on the scheme.
Responding to the announcement, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, affirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to the initiative and providing enabling policies that could attract private sector investment in the zones.
“The Federal Government is committed to successfully implement the programme to increase agricultural production, reduce poverty, and scale up job creation across the country,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed added, “All the 36 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory will be eligible to participate in the SAPZ programme.”
She said 20 states and the FCT had already indicated interest in participating the first phase of the scheme.
The states include Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Imo, Cross River, Ogun, Oyo, Bauchi, Lagos, Niger, Ekiti, Lagos, Taraba, Benue, Sokoto, Ondo, Nasarawa, and Kogi.
“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,” AfDB’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford, said.