African Development Bank, Development Partners to Mobilise $520m to Co-Finance SAPZ First Phase

Gilbert Ekugbe

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and its development partners have announced plans to mobilise over $520 million to co-finance the first phase of the Nigeria Special Agro-industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ).

The Director General, Nigeria Country Department, AfDB, Lamin Barrow, said the programme, which will be implemented in phases across six the geo-political zones in Nigeria would also be rolled out in 18 other African countries.

The Nigeria SAPZ programme consists of four mutually reinforcing components – infrastructure development and agro-industrial hubs management; agriculture productivity and production; policy and institutional development; and programme coordination and management.

At a high-level briefing session, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who hosted the meeting, reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to put in place enabling policies and incentives to attract private sector investment in the zones, to ensure successful implementation.

Ahmed said all 36 States in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory would be eligible to participate in the SAPZ programme.
“In addition to the Federal Capital Territory and 7 states – Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Imo, Cross River, Ogun and Oyo – participating in Phase 1, several other states have indicated interest in the SAPZ programme. These include Bauchi, Lagos, Niger, Jigawa, Ekiti, Lagos, Taraba, Benue, Sokoto, Ondo, Nasarawa, Gombe and Kogi, “she added.

She expressed overwhelming support for the initiative aimed at developing priority value chains through developing infrastructure in rural areas, focused on finishing and transforming raw materials and commodities.
“The Federal government is committed to successfully implementing the programme to increase agricultural production, reduce poverty, and scale up job creation across the country, ”Ahmed said.

The participants, representatives of the African Development Bank Group, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), provided progress updates on the scheme, following their consultations with key stakeholders within the public and private sectors.

The Senior Adviser on Industrialisation to the President of the African Development Bank, Prof Oyebanji Oyeleran-Oyeyinka, said the zone model is an explicit industrialisation strategy to transform poor rural spaces into zones of prosperity, stem rural-urban migration, end human insecurity induced by herder-farmers clashes, and provide employment to Nigerian youth.

On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo, commended the strategic initiative of AfDB and its partners, stressing that strong private sector participation will ensure that the project aligns with the Federal Government’s industrialisation agenda.

Also speaking, the AfDB Group’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford, said SAPZs have worked in other countries, maintaining that it would create jobs, develop skills, and facilitate agricultural value chains development in Nigeria.

She said private sector investment is critical to the success of the SAPZs, as well as having the right policies in place.
“Action is needed now. The AfDB is ready to accelerate this action, “she added.

The Associate Vice President for Programme Management, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Donald Brown said the flagship project will enable IFAD to take its relationship with the AfDB to another level.

“Our relationship started 43 years ago, and since then we have worked together on 52 projects. But I think the zones are the biggest and most high profile project that IFAD and the Bank will work on together, “he said.

Also speaking, the Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, Solomon Quaynor, noted that the quality of industrial policies and design will influence the quality of private sector operators that can be attracted into the zones.

The Senior Agricultural Economist, IsDB, Ouugfaly Badji said the zones would enable producers, processors, and the entire agricultural value chain in Nigeria to become more functional and profitable.

SAPZs are flagship initiatives of the Bank’s ‘Feed Africa’ strategic priority with aim to provide end-to-end solutions and services that de-risk production, processing, and marketing operations of private sector actors as they boost manufacturing and transformation capacity in production areas. The end result is improved livelihoods for millions in the rural areas as well as a reduction in poverty

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