World Bank to Boost Nigeria’s Investments in Human Capital, Economic Transformation

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By Martins Ifijeh

The World Bank has approved six projects to support Nigeria’s development priorities, including improving immunisation, enabling a stronger business environment for the private sector, expanding the digital economy to promote job creation, and increasing public and private sector capacity on governance, social and environmental safeguards.

In a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, the President, World Bank Group, David Malpass said Nigeria was central to the World Bank Group’s mission of tackling extreme poverty, adding that the bank has carefully targeted its support on high impact projects as the country works to tackle corruption and lift 100 million of its people out of poverty.

The Country Director, World Bank Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri said: “These projects focus squarely on delivering better services for Nigerians: ensuring that children are immunised and sleep under mosquito nets, building better roads especially in rural areas, and providing Nigeria’s poorest citizens with a unique identification that will make social safety nets and services more effective.“

The approved programme of support in fiscal year 2020 comprises; Immunisation Plus and Malaria Progress by Accelerating Coverage and Transforming Services, Nigeria Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project, Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project, among others.
The country director said the Immunisation Plus and Malaria Progress intervention will strengthen health systems to deliver effective primary health care and improve immunisation, malaria control, and child and maternal health in selected states.

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

“The Nigeria Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project will upgrade rural roads and improve connectivity and access to local markets and agrobusiness services in 13 states. Specifically, the project will upgrade about 1,600 kilometers of rural roads and improve 65 agro-logistics centers.

“These interventions are expected to boost the proportion of population who live within two kilometers of an all-season road by up to 10 per cent. The project is co-financed through an IDA credit of $280 million, $230 million from the French Development Agency, and $65m from the Government of Nigeria.

“The Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project will 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 three 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. This is co-financed through an IDA credit of $115 million, $100 million from the French Development Agency, and $215 million from the European Investment Bank,” he said.

Other programmes include the Ogun State Economic Transformation Project, Innovation Development and Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills Project, Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standards Enhancement Project, among others.