The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $210 million loan to co-finance the first phase of the Nigeria Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Programme (SAPZ). The board of directors of the board gave approval for the facility to be made available to Nigeria, the development finance institution said in a statement made available to Business A.M.
The AfDB emphasised that bank financing of the programme, which represents one of it’s most ambitious operations in terms of scale and scope to date, will help the most populous African country unlock its agriculture sector potential and enhance industrialisation through the development of strategic crops and livestock.
AfDB further stated that phase one of the project will target seven Nigerian states including, Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, Oyo, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
“The project will support Nigeria’s efforts to raise agricultural productivity, promote investment, create wealth and jobs, and transform rural areas into corridors of economic prosperity. Its first phase will be implemented with co-financing from other partners in the amount of $538.05 million,” the statement read.
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Commenting on the programme, Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president, explained that the first phase of the programme is not government-driven, but government-enabled and private sector led.
“That is the critical way in which you have structural transformation of agriculture. It is impressive to see a strong commitment from the Nigerian government – a very strong commitment from the Nigerian minister of finance and from all of the state governments because they have to give the land, they make sure that all the regulations and incentives are provided,” he added.
In his remarks, Lamin Barrow, director general of the bank’s Nigeria country office, said phase one of the programme will mobilise private sector investment in the agro-industrial hubs and agricultural transformation centers, adding that it will impact some 1.5 million households as direct beneficiaries, with a target of creating 400,000 direct jobs and 1.6 million indirect jobs.
According to the AfDB, Nigeria phase one zone construction is expected to augment the value chains of cocoa, rice and cassava in Cross River State; beef and dairy livestock in Imo and the Federal Capital Territory; tomato, maize and ginger in Kaduna State; rice, tomato, groundnuts and sesame oil in Kano State; livestock in Kwara State; cassava, rice, poultry and fisheries in Ogun State; and cassava, soybean, and rice in Oyo State.
In addition to AfDB’s financing for the project, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), will provide parallel co-financing, while Nigeria’s federal and state governments are also expected to contribute both in cash and in kind.