The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $210m loan for Nigeria to boost agriculture in the country.
The AfDB Board of Directors that announced the approval said in a statement that the loan, which is intended to impact the lives of millions of Nigerians is specifically targeted at the nation’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones.
The statement read in part; “A $210m loan approved by the African Development Bank’s Board of Directors on Monday could impact the lives of millions of people in Africa’s most populous country.
“The loan will co-finance Phase 1 of the Nigeria Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Programme. The programme will help to unlock Nigeria’s agriculture sector potential. It will promote industrialisation through the development of strategic crops and livestock.” “Its first phase will be implemented with co-financing from other partners in the amount of $538.05m. The Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones Programme is expected to bring economic infrastructure to rural areas of high agricultural potential.
According to AfDB’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the first phase of the programme will not be government-driven but ‘government-enabled’ and private sector-led, adding that this was the serious way to structural transformation of agriculture.
“It is impressive to see a strong commitment from the Nigerian government – a very strong commitment from the Nigerian Minister of Finance and from all of the state governments because they have to give the land, they make sure that all the regulations and incentives are provided.” He said.
According to the statement, the loan which is made up of; $160m AfDB credit and Africa Growing Together Fund of $50m, would target seven states and the Federal Capital Territory, in the Phase 1 of the project augmenting certain value chain commodities.
“Cross River (cocoa, rice and cassava), Imo (beef and dairy livestock), Kaduna (tomato, maize and ginger), Kano (rice, tomato, groundnuts and sesame oil), Kwara (livestock), Ogun (cassava, rice, poultry and fisheries), Oyo (cassava, soybean, rice), and FCT (beef and dairy livestock).” The statement noted.
The project is expected to support Nigeria’s efforts in raising agricultural productivity, promoting investment, creating jobs, and transform the rural areas into corridors of economic prosperity.