N$10 billion fund for agro-industrial processing zones in Nigeria

The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwunmi Adesina, says the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) has partnered with the bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) to launch a US$538 million (N$10 billion) programme to develop special agro industrial processing zones in Nigeria.

Adesina says the AfDB set a goal-financing target of $2 billion in 2017, adding that it has overachieved on that by reaching US$2,4 billion, which he says would support 19 projects across 14 African countries.

The AfDB boss, who spoke in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the IsDB Golden Jubilee celebration and gala dinner yesterday, hinted that the IsDB Group has committed US$7 billion to efforts in support of Africa to feed itself.

“I was delighted when the IsDB chairman, Muhammad Al Jasser, announced this at the Feed Africa Summit held in Dakar, Senegal in 2023. You have joined forces with the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development as we jointly launched a US$538 million programme to develop special agro industrial processing zones in Nigeria.

“You also joined forces with us to create the Alliance for Special Agro Industrial Processing Zones to jointly mobilise US$3 billion to develop these zones across several countries.

“You are a strategic partner of choice for us. We have shown our commitment to do more together,” he said.

Bill Gates, the co-chair and board member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said the organisation’s collaboration with the Muslim leaders, especially the sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar, helped reduce the prevalence of the polio virus to zero in northern Nigeria in 2020.

He said many thought the foundation would not succeed in its effort to eradicate the polio virus, because the reputation of the virus in Nigeria was a huge challenge.

However, he said they were able to get the word out, while adding that oral polio drops were ‘a great thing and every child everywhere accepted it”.

In his remarks, the president of Afreximbank, Benedict Oramah, revealed that the scale of the transactions IsDB has done with Africa through International Islamic Trade Finance, which provides trade support to participating countries on behalf of the bank, has surpassed US$1 billion.

“Today, there can be no better place to invest than in Africa. That is the continent of the future. That is the youngest population. That is a continent that will in a very short time actually account for almost 40% of the global population.

“It is a continent that has all the minerals you can think of that are yet to be exploited, not to talk of the water, agricultural land, all the things that the world today is lacking.

“So, that is a place that can become a good partner of Saudi Arabia as it implements Vision 2030,” he said.

Oramah affirmed that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, anchored on socio-economic and cultural diversification, had become a hub for Asia, Europe and Africa to connect.

“If Saudi Arabia achieves this vision, so the global market is nearer, the African ports will become integrated into the Saudi ports, and we would be able to more effectively also diversify from mineral resources just as Saudi Arabia diversifies from oil,” he said. – This Today

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