AfDB predicts growth for Nigeria

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has inaugurated the Country Office of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and hailed the bank's US$6 billion portfolio in Nigeria for job creation.

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.

AfDB President, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said the institution remains grateful to the Federal Government for providing land the building and the continuous show of solidarity to the bank. Nigeria has been important in the growth of the institution as a major shareholder, a donor and a borrower. And we have through the years shared the Bank's vision and objectives.

She said that the Bank had made Nigeria the first regional member country to host the Bank-owned office complex.

He noted that the Bank had evolved into one of the most efficient vehicles for Africa's economic development and integration.

The AfDB approved $1bn loan in November 2016 to assist the country get out of recession.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as we celebrate the commissioning of this world-class edifice, I wish to reiterate the commitment of the Buhari Administration to the Bank's strategy in Nigeria.

Osinbajo added, "Most specifically, I thank the President and the members of the Board of the AfDB for their support to Nigeria at a very hard time during the 2015/2016 economic recession".

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Nigeria is the African Development Bank's largest shareholder with a portfolio of approximately United States $6 billion and country operations accounting for 13% of the Bank's total portfolio.

The African Development Bank had previously collaborated closely with other development partners, such as the the World Bank, where it financed $1.15 billion in December. "His Excellency Vice-President Osinbajo made the point when he referred to the USA $1-billion budget support loan for which we have drawn only $600 million", she explained.

"It reflects better global economic conditions; the recovery in commodity prices (mainly oil and metals); sustained domestic demand, partly met by import substitution; and improvements in agricultural production", AfDB said in its report. You can tell by the level of our investments in Nigeria to the tune of $6 billion.

He announced that the Bank would organise the Africa Investment Forum on November 7-8, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa, to mobilise funds for infrastructure development, to bridge an estimated funding gap of $130-$170 billion a year, up from previous estimates of U.S. $100 billion per year. The AfDB will not relent in supporting Nigeria in critical areas to boost growth, diversify the economy and create jobs.

"The program supports Egypt's comprehensive structural reform agenda aimed to drive fiscal consolidation, strengthen governance and efficiency in the energy sector, and enhance the business operating environment, especially for micro, small and medium-sized businesses, the statement read. Our investments are structured around our High 5 priorities: Light up and power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa", Adesina said.

"So we are looking forward to the remaining US$400 million". We put in $18 million into the Fund for Financing Agriculture in Nigeria (FAFIN).

The AfDB boss disclosed that the bank had invested $500m in the Development Bank of Nigeria and would also be committing $200m in the Transmission Corporation of Nigeria.

"From our perspective, our investments can only increase as we expect the levels to reach $8 billion by 2019".