ADDIS ABABA – A $210 million loan approved by the African Development Bank’s Board of Directors on Monday could impact the lives of millions of people in Africa’s most populous country, said the Bank.
The finance, the Bank said, will co-finance Phase 1 of the Nigeria Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Program, which aims to unlock Nigeria’s agriculture sector potential and promote industrialization.
African Development Bank (AfDB) said its financing for the program represents one of the Bank’s most ambitious operations in terms of scale and scope to date.
It is made up of an AfDB loan of $160 million and an Africa Growing Together Fund loan of $50 million.
The Phase 1 of the project will target seven Nigerian states and the country’s Federal Capital Territory, and will be implemented with co-financing from other partners in the amount of $538.05 million, according to the AfDB.
AfDB Group President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina said the first phase of the program is not government-driven.
“It is government-enabled and private sector led. That is the critical way in which you have structural transformation of agriculture,” he said, commending the Nigerian government “very impressive commitment” to support the project. The project areas account for 19% of Nigeria’s total land mass and will benefit 50.4 million people.
The AfDB’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones is a flagship of the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy. The Bank plans to establish these zones in 18 African countries.
The zones are designed to concentrate production, processing, storage, transport and the marketing of commodities – like cotton or maize to increase productivity and competitiveness and reduce logistics costs.