The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) on Thursday confirmed its support to the initiative as the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) increases its effort towards the construction of special agro-industrial processing zones in the country’s capital.
The Vice-President of Agriculture, Human and Social Development of the African Development Bank, Dr Beth Dunford, made a pledge in Abuja during a visit to the SAPZ Hub at Paikon Kore Grazing Reservation in the Gwagwalada Area Council of the FCT.
Dunford, who expressed satisfaction with the state of preparedness on the part of the FCT Administration, also noted that the establishment of Special Industrial Processing Zones was important for transforming the Nigerian agricultural sector, and by extension, the economy.
According to her; “I am really impressed with what is on the ground. I think we know that the Special AgroIndustrial Processing Zones are incredibly important for really transforming Nigerian agriculture.
“And to really transform the economy, we all know we have to start with agriculture and this is a way to really bring together the businesses, the infrastructure that we need to fuel the businesses, to add value to provide more jobs, more opportunities and to really turn the small farmers in this area into commercial farmers to improve their livelihood opportunities.
“And what I see here today translates to mean that you all have put all of your efforts and your brains and your time, and your expertise into really building this amazing effort. So, we in the African Development Bank are really excited about partnering with the government of Nigeria to make this happen, to make this happen quickly on the continent”.
She, however, affirmed that with the commitment shown by the government, Nigeria could be a model for the rest of the continent to transform, assuring that the management team of the bank is working together to drive this effort to fruition.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on SAPZ, Prof. Muhammad Usman, commended the entire board and management of the African Development Bank for the commitment towards the establishment of the project in the FCT, just as he assured that the administration has committed resources to provide complementary counterpart support to ensure a smooth take-off of the project.
He also hinted; “this project will help us to achieve two developmental objectives; one of which is to partner with the private sector to ensure that we create jobs for the youth, and the second is to help us build the economy to lift people out of poverty.
“In doing this, the SAPZ occupies a very important pride of place because agriculture is the mainstay of our people, and the partnership will add value to the communities”.
It would be recalled that four development partners had committed a total sum of $520 million for the development of the first phase of Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) in some selected states across Nigeria.