Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), announced the ambitious collaboration between the AfDB and its partners to secure $1 billion in financing for the expansion of Nigeria’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) program. The initiative, launched in October 2022, is geared towards enhancing productivity and promoting value addition. Additionally, it will be providing market access through a blend of government-supported and private sector-driven investments.
Adesina expressed the program’s potential to benefit up to 25 out of Nigeria’s 36 states. They expressed this during a meeting in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire. A delegation of North-western state governors led by Katsina State Governor Mallam Dikko Radda was present. Adesina urged the governors to promptly select agricultural hubs to host the proposed SAPZ schemes. Additionally, he emphasized their role in benefitting local farmers, creating jobs, and transforming commodities into high-value products.
Significant Projects Funded By The AfDB Similar To The Proposed $1 Billion Agro-Industrial Zones In Nigeria.
Acknowledging the zone’s endowments, Adesina noted that the AfDB had already financed significant projects in the northwest. They include the $85 million Zaria Water Supply and Sanitation Project. Additionally, Kano and Kaduna, two states from the zone, were part of phase one of the SAPZ program. He revealed that the National Agriculture Growth Scheme (NAGS) received $134 million in budget support funding. This was to target increased wheat and rice production to reduce the country’s $3 billion expenditure on wheat imports.
Adesina also highlighted the region’s potential in livestock. Specifically, cattle, suggesting the establishment of beef processing zones in the North-west zone. The president underlined the AfDB’s commitment to supporting the Nigerian government in mitigating the impacts of high food prices. With a focus on providing affordable renewable energy for the SAPZ program to contribute to curbing inflation.
Governor Radda commended Adesina’s leadership and highlighted the coordinated approach adopted by North-west governors to collaborate with the AfDB on agriculture and power projects. The lack of irrigation infrastructure, leading to low yields and youth unemployment, was identified as a key challenge in the region.
Representatives from Jigawa, Kaduna, and Zamfara states expressed optimism about the SAPZ program’s potential to overcome challenges, achieve food self-sufficiency, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth. Governor Idris of Kebbi emphasized the centrality of agriculture to the state’s fortunes, with nearly 70% of the population relying on agriculture. The collaboration signifies a pivotal step towards transforming Nigeria’s agricultural landscape and fostering sustainable economic development.