W’Bank Okays $2.185bn Project Support Fund for Nigeria

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World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri

James Emejo in Abuja

The World Bank has approved $2.185 billion to fund six projects in Nigeria as part of its support for the country’s development priorities.

The World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri said in a statement wednesday that the World Bank was ramping up its support to Nigeria in its efforts to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.

The fund will be used to finance projects focused on improving immunisation, providing an enabling business environment for the private sector and expanding the digital economy to promote job creation as well as increasing capacity of public and private sector on governance, social and environmental safeguards.
The six approved programmes in the 2020 fiscal year include: Immunisation Plus and Malaria Progress by Accelerating Coverage and Transforming Services (IMPACT); Nigeria Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project; Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project and Ogun State Economic Transformation Project.

The rest are: Innovation Development and Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills Project and the Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standards Enhancement Project (SPESSE).

IMPACT will strengthen health systems to deliver effective primary health care and improve immunisation, malaria control and child and maternal health in selected states.

According to Chaudhuri, the projects are focused on delivering better services to Nigerians by ensuring children immunisation and protecting them against malaria infection.

It will also improve rural mobility with better roads and provide citizens with a unique identification number “to be able to better target social safety nets”.

The Bretton Woods institution explained that IMPACT aims to improve vaccination coverage, increase the percentage of children under five who sleep under insecticide treated nets from 28 per cent to 41 per cent and improve the percentage of women who receive post-natal check-ups from 47 per cent to 55 per cent.
The project is financed under concessional terms through an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $650 million.

The second project, Nigeria Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project, which is financed through an IDA credit of $280 million, co-financing of $230 million from the French Development Agency and $65 million from the federal government, will upgrade rural roads, improve connectivity and access to local markets and agrobusiness services in 13 states. The project will upgrade about 1,600 kilometres of rural roads and improve 65 agro-logistics centres.
The interventions are expected to increase by up to 10 per cent the proportion of population who live within two kilometres of an all-season road.

The third project, Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project, bankrolled through an IDA credit of $115 million and co-financing of $100 million from the French Agency for Development and $215 million from the European Investment Bank, seeks to support the National Identity Management Commission to increase the number of persons who have a national identification number (NIN) reaching about 150 million in the next couple of years.
“This will enable people in Nigeria, especially marginalised groups, to access welfare-enhancing services. The project will also enhance the ID system’s legal and technical safeguards to protect personal data and privacy,” the statement added.

Other programmes covered by the scheme include the Ogun State Economic Transformation Project, which will catalyse private investment in the state by improving the business-enabling environment, strengthening agri-food value chains and upgrading skills.

The project will support the issuance of 15,000 Certificates of Occupancy, facilitate off-taker arrangements with agribusinesses for up to 40,000 farmers and improve STEM teaching in up to 70 per cent of public secondary schools, with funding from an IDA credit of $250 million.

The Innovation Development and Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills Project will strengthen the skills of 50,000 Nigerian students and enhance the capacity of technical teachers to better equip them for jobs in the formal and informal sectors. The project will increase female enrollment rate from 13 per cent to 23 per cent in technical colleges and provide recognised skills and certification to 3,000 youths after completing an informal apprenticeship. This is financed through an IDA credit of $200 million.

The portfolio also included the Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standards Enhancement Project (SPESSE), which will strengthen capacity in managing procurement, environmental and social standards in the public and private sectors.

The project will enhance the skills of 21,240 persons and facilitate certification of 4,000 practitioners in procurement, environment and social standards and also ensure that accredited degree programmes meet International Best Practice and Good International Industry Practice (GIIP) in these areas with financing from an IDA credit of $80 million.

The project also included the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, to help the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty and improve poor people’s lives.

IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa, according to the bank.