The Kwara State Government has opened talks with the African Development Bank (AfDB) on various areas of partnership, including road construction, small and medium scale enterprises with focus on women empowerment, energy, and agro-processing.
The government said a team of experts from the AfDB was expected in Kwara later in the year, to identify projects in the priority areas. The proposed partnership was the outcome of a meeting Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq held with the AfDB team in Abuja last Monday, during which he spelt out the priorities of his new administration and sought the buy-in of the development body.
A statement explained that the meeting was attended by AfDB Country Director Ebrimal Faal and other top officials of the agency.
The statement said the governor identified the priority areas to include education, healthcare, infrastructure, agriculture, women and youth empowerment, and entrepreneurship and what steps he had taken on them, like the recent multi-million-naira counterpart funds he recently released to access various development funds.
It quoted AbdulRazaq as saying that the administration plans to develop agri-business and promote agro-processing with special focus on commodities like sugarcane, rice and cashew, among others.
The Governor mentioned some investments in these areas to include the $350m sugar refinery being constructed by the BUA Group and the 16,000 hectares of sugarcane plantation owned by the Dangote Group, according to the statement.
“Consequently, Kwara is eyeing a partnership with the AfDB for the construction of Kosubosu-Lafiagi road. There will also be further talks on how Kwara can benefit from AfDB’s initiatives like the $50m facility to support SMEs and women-owned businesses, $200m project for National Electrification and transmission lines; and AfDB agro-industrial development development through its Special Agro -Industrial Processing Zone being pursued with some Chinese investors, among others,” the statement said.
It said the AfDB has also invited AbdulRazaq to attend the business-to-business (B2B) meetings with some Chinese investors along with some other governors in Abuja on August 7, setting the ground for future engagements between the Kwara State Government, AfDB and the investors.
“After learning the back-end processes involved, we are looking at the possibility of starting the Kwara version of Trader-Moni later this year after appropriate legislations and budgetary provisions,” the statement added.