AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK BOSS HAILS IKPEAZU’S CLARITY OF VISION AND PLEDGES PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ABIA STATE GOVERNMENT
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s meeting with the President of the Africa Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has yielded positive returns for the State with strong assurances that the Bank will work in partnership with the State Government in the development of critical infrastructure.
Governor Ikpeazu led a team from the Abia State Government which met with the Bank management today at the Bank Headquarters
in Abidjan where a number of issues affecting infrastructural development, agriculture and women empowerment in the State were discussed.
The Governor’s presentation dealt with the need for institutional support for the state in the area of financing critical infrastructure as a strategy to help develop the local economy in the State.
Describing the people of Abia State as enterprising, industrious, hardworking and innovative, Governor Ikpeazu stated that if the needed funding for the upgrade of key infrastructural projects were provided, it will go a long way in the quest to strengthen the economy of the state and help to transform the State, especially the city of Aba into a major economic hub, not just for Nigeria but the entire African continent.
The Governor requested the Bank President to fast track the approval process for the Abia State Integrated Infrastructural Project since the State Government has fulfilled all conditions stipulated by the bank in this direction. He also requested that the Bank buys into the Enyimba Economic City Project, describing it as the most ambitious economic development project in the country presently.
In the area of agriculture, Governor Ikpeazu told the Bank Chief that Abia has crossed the rubicon in local production of rice with plans to increase the production this year. He stated that the natural rice fields in the Bende area of the State have the potential to produce enough rice to cater for local consumption which will invariably improve the economy of the rice producers, create jobs and improve the economy.
He drew the attention of Bank to the production capabilities of the state in Palm Oil, Cassava, Cocoa and Cashew, and requested the Bank to assist the State to improve the value chain of these products through institutional financing.
Responding, the President of the African Development Bank and Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina thanked the Governor for the visit and assured him that the Bank is satisfied with the clarity of the vision of the Governor for his people and will definitely partner with the State in several areas.
He gave specific assurances that the development of the Enyimba Economic City Project is top on the agenda of the Bank owing to its capacity to turn around the economy of the South East region of the country.
He also assured that the process of approval for the Abia State Integrated Infrastructural Project has reached advanced stages and will soon be presented before the Board of the Bank for necessary action.
He noted that the city of Aba has the capacity to become a major economic hub owing to the productive capacity and entrepreneurial ingenuity of the people.
On women empowerment, the Bank President told the Governor that the Bank has an economic stimulus program specifically designed for women called the AFFIRMATIVE FINANCE ACTION FOR WOMEN IN AFRICA. Under this program, the Bank, in recognition of the critical roles played by the African woman in the economic development of Africa, has developed the program which will leverage the Bank’s financial instruments to increase lending to women.
The program, Dr. Adesina continued, is a $300 Million risk sharing instrument to unlock $3 Billion in credit for women businesses and enterprises in Africa.
The Program will also provide advisory services to financial institutions to ensure successful implementation of their product portfolios for women and strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs through training to enhance their productivity and growth.
He assured that the Bank will partner with the State Government to ensure that women from Abia State benefit from this program. The President specifically detailed the Vice President of the Bank, Nigeria’s Ms Chinelo Anohu to interface with officials of the Abia State Government in this direction.
Onyebuchi Ememanka, Esq
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor.
3rd March, 2020.