The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Thursday reaffirmed its strong partnership with the Government of Nigeria in addressing the challenges in the power sector.
Country Director of AfDB, Mr Ebraima Faal, gave the assurance in Abuja when he presented his letter of credence to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.
Faal said the bank will support Nigeria’s quest to find lasting solution to the power challenges and its power recovery strategies.
“We are looking at power project at the moment and we are discussing with the power ministry on how best the bank can support the recovery strategies,” he said.
According to him the bank has about two missions at the moment on how it can assist Nigeria in its quest to solve its power problem.
The country director did not however give details of the assistance to be provided.
Faal also said that the bank was also going to empower 36,000 youths across the 36 states of the federation through agriculture.
“On Agriculture we are also looking at youth empowerment programmes, how to empower the youths in 36 states and essentially provide job for at least 36,000 youths and of course their extended families,” he said.
He said that the bank had been supporting and would continue to support Nigeria.
“On the contribution of the AfDB to Nigeria, we have a very large programme in Nigeria to match the size of the country; it is about six billion dollars. It has grown significantly over the last few years; I think we have been investing about 1.5 billion dollars a year both in the public and private sectors.”
“About 60 per cent of our portfolio is in the private sector, we have focus on agriculture, our priority area mainly is on power and feeding Africa which is agriculture,” he said.
According to him the bank also has focus on education.
“We have a 200 million-dollar programme in Yobe where we are looking at how the bank can help in this regard.
He said that Nigeria was the largest economy in the continent and the bank’s largest shareholder, adding that the relations between Nigeria and the bank was critical from any point of view.
He expressed appreciation for the Nigeria’s support to the bank.
“We also appreciate the role Nigeria plays in terms of the providing funds to the AfDB window, a trust fund through which Nigeria has been able to contribute immensely to support other countries,” he said.
Onyeama said that AfDB was an important institution not just to Nigeria but for Africa.
The minister said that the bank has the capacity to play a very important role in revitalising the Nigerian economy and also of other African countries in general.
“We cannot underestimate the importance of bank in the development of Nigeria and other Africa,” he said.
He congratulated the new country representative and wished him success in his assignment in Nigeria.