Rolls out in Nigeria, 17 other 18 African countries
Nigeria SAPZ targets infrastructure, agro-industrial hubs; production; institutions; management
The Nigerian federal and its state governments have endorsed the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) – an initiative to create public-private partnerships aimed at developing priority value chains through developing infrastructure in rural areas, focused on finishing and transforming raw materials and commodities.
At a high-level briefing session, the Nigerian minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab 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 SAPZs to ensure successful implementation.
Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones are a flagship initiative of AfDB’s ‘Feed Africa’ strategic priority. They 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.
The participants, representatives of the AfDB Group, 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.
Lamin Barrow, director general of AfDB’s Nigeria Country department, said the zones would be rolled out in 18 African countries, including Nigeria.
The Nigerian SAPZ programme would consist 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.
According to Barrow, AfDB Group and its development partners are mobilizing $520 million to co-finance the first phase of the programme in Nigeria, to be implemented in phases across the country’s six geo-political zones.
Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, said the federal government is committed to successfully implementing the programme to increase agricultural production, reduce poverty, and scale up job creation across the country.
“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, Taraba, Benue, Sokoto, Ondo, Nasarawa, Gombe and Kogi, she explained.
Oyebanji Oyeleran-Oyeyinka, senior adviser on industrialisation to the president of the AfDB, informed that the SAPZ model is an explicit industrialization 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.
Richard Adebayo, minister of industry, trade and investment, commended the strategic initiative of the African Development Bank and its partners, and added that strong private sector participation will ensure that the project aligns with the federal government’s industrialization agenda.
Beth Dunford, AfDB Group’s vice president for agriculture, human and social development, said the SAPZs have worked in other countries; it will create jobs, develop skills, and facilitate agricultural value chain development in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, private sector investment is critical to the success of the SAPZs, as well as having the right policies in place.
Dunford said action is needed now. And that AfDB is ready to accelerate the action.
IFAD’s associate vice president for programme management, Donald Brown said the SAPZ, a flagship project, will enable the parties (Nigerian government, AfDB, and IFAD) to take their relationship with the AfDB to a new level.
He said IFAD’s relationship with AfDB started 43 years ago, and both had since then worked together on 52 projects. But said, he is convinced the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones are the biggest and most high-profile project that IFAD and AfDB will work on together.