• Pledges to raise portfolio to $8b next year
• Opens first office outside headquarters in Abuja in 54 years
The African Development Bank (AfDB) yesterday said its $1 billion emergency lifeline approval support to Nigeria last year was what helped to pull the country out of recession, the country’s worst economic crisis in more than a decade.
The President of the AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who made the claim, said with the approval of the lifeline, its Nigerian portfolio has risen to $6 billion, while it is working to increase its investment in Nigeria to $8 billion by 2019.
He said the bank would continue to support Nigeria and other African countries in order to accelerate the development of infrastructure and energy on the continent.
President Muhammadu Buhari who yesterday commissioned the ultra modern first AfDB office outside its corporate headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’ Voire in 54 years, corroborated the lifeline claim.
Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who also expressed gratitude to the AfDB for that 2017 lifeline intervention, requested the bank to quickly complete the remaining $400 million of that intervention as Nigeria still needs it to fix pending economic challenges.
President Buhari, represented at the ceremony by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said:” During Nigeria’s challenging moment in 2016, we approached the bank for intervention and the intervention was swift with the approval of $1 billion. The first tranche of $600 million has been fully disbursed and utilised and in my discussion with the project implementation teams which is sector by sector, I’m satisfied that the funds have been dutifully deployed. So we are looking for the disbursement of the balance of $400 million which will go a long way in assisting us to recover fully.”
Area where the balance of the $400 million would be deployed once disbursed is in the North East region where he said some 10 million people are struggling to return to normal life following the devastating displacement by the activities of Boko Haram.
He said AfDB has earned a special place in the heart of the country and pledged Nigeria’s commitment to continue to be a major player in the bank towards making it strong to deliver on its vision.
Buhari recalled that Nigeria from inception has been an important stakeholder as a major shareholder and that the decision to locate its first office outside the headquarters in Nigeria, signifies the recognition.
Adeosun who is also AfDB member of Board of Governors said the $1 billion intervention gave the country’s foreign reserves the much-needed boost, which helped stabilise the naira.
On the issue of eradicating extreme poverty by the year 2030, Adeosun urged African countries to be more effective in fragile and conflict-affected states.
Adesina disclosed that the bank had invested $500 million in the Development Bank of Nigeria and would also be committing $200 million in the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
“Our support also extends to the financial sector. Several Nigerian banks have benefitted from $1.8 billion in lines of credit, including Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, Stanbic IBTC, First Bank, WEMA Bank, Zenith Bank, GT Bank and the Bank of Industry and NEXIM.”