The African Development Bank and the Federal Government have launched the Inclusive Basic Service Delivery Livelihood Empowerment Integrated Programme – a $258million comprehensive multisectoral intervention aimed at bolstering rehabilitation efforts in north-eastern Nigeria.
According to a statement by the AfDB, Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo launched the program at the bank’s premises in Abuja. The launch was attended by Governors of five northeast states, ministers, development partners and key stakeholders.
The statement quoted Osinbajo saying that: “It has been gratifying to note how enthusiastically our friends and partners have rallied to our support, mobilizing resources to tackle the crisis in the northeast.
“We would like to express the profound appreciation of the Federal Government to the Bank for being a partner in progress with us.
“When the story of the region’s recovery is told, the work of the African Development Bank will occupy a well-merited and prominent chapter,” Osibanjo said, lauding the program as a landmark intervention in support of the region, which has suffered devastation from insurgency.
The AfDB has stated clearly that state governments of the northeast will implement the Bank’s $258million programme with the Federal Government’s support.
In terms of impact, 14 million affected people including 2.3 million internal displaced persons (IDPs) will benefit from health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation services.
The Programme is targeting 9,000 IDPs and heads of vulnerable households who will receive direct economic assistance, while 2,023 small and medium scale enterprises (79% women) will receive business development support. About 2,900 construction artisans and mechanics in the informal sector will also get help to improve their productivity. The initiative envisages that 2,000 unskilled youth will be trained for employment.
The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina represented by the Bank’s Senior Director in Nigeria, Ebrima Faal, highlighted the programme’s emphasis on inclusivity.
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“It incorporates special gender considerations by ensuring that women are active participants in all stages of the project and providing training for women and youth entrepreneurs to increase their chances for employment and business opportunities,” Adesina said.
“The Bank has remained a strong partner of the Federal and State Governments in their efforts to restore livelihoods in the northeast. For instance, throughout the period of heightened conflict in the region, the Bank intervened with two critical programmes in Yobe and Taraba States. The experience gained and lessons learned from implementing these two projects are incorporated in the design of the current intervention,” he added.
Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar thanked the Bank for putting together what he described as the first integrated and inclusive plan for rebuilding of northeast Nigeria.
“Part of the underlying factors that led to the crazy phenomenon of Boko Haram is illiteracy and lack of economic capacity. For the first time, we have now a program that attempts to address all these issues at once,” he said.
The intervention seeks to reduce fragility aggravated by the Boko Haram insurgency by contributing to emergency transition, recovery and peacebuilding efforts. It focuses on three main components – service delivery, economic recovery and institutional strengthening. It also includes support to ensure increased access of the poor and vulnerable to basic social services in water, sanitation, hygiene, health and education, as well as livelihood opportunities, food security and strengthened safety net systems.
Participating states include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe and Taraba states.
In his remarks, Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative, Theophilus Danjuma noted that given the growing traffic of displaced persons back to their home communities, the provision of essential services and job creation in safe locations will play a huge role in ensuring the sustainability of the post-crisis recovery.