Daily Courier

The forthcoming Annual Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group in Egypt from June 1 to June 4, 2022, should be yet another forum for Nigeria to actively explore more areas of mutually beneficial partnership with the Bank.

Nigeria joined the international financial institution in 2005 with the main objectives of gaining stronger and wider economic linkages with sister countries on the global stage, and also benefitting from the development financing activities of the Bank.

Both basic objectives have been achieved. By being a member and shareholder in the Bank, Nigeria belongs to yet another development partner and a group of 57 member-countries drawn from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America Nigeria is the fourth largest shareholder in the Bank, surpassed only by Saudi Arabia, Libya and Iran respectively. Its share subscription is worth $3.9 billion. That translates to 7.66 per cent of the Bank’s capital.

Nigeria is so held in high esteem by members of the Bank for its contributions to its success that Abuja was chosen as a regional hub or gateway for overseeing its activities in Nigeria, Gabon, Niger, Mozambique, Barkina Faso, the Republic of Cameroon, Uganda, Senegal, Djibouti and Guinea Bisau.

In Nigeria, the main areas of financing by the Bank are health, agriculture, infrastructure, small and medium-scale enterprise and regional integration. The education sector is also among its priority financing areas in Nigeria. This is because education, especially bilingual, is a key tool for countering extremism in the society.

And data from the Bank shows bold footprints with various completed or ongoing projects in those priority areas in parts of the country. The total number of projects is 119 worth US$1.8 billion. Out of the 119 projects, the data indicates that 71 projects have been delivered sucessfully. The data indicates that a total of 48 projects are ongoing.

It is important to note that in addition to the priority areas listed, the IsDB has financed projects in other sectors including Energy, Finance, Industry and Mining, Information and Communication Technology, Water, Sanitation and Urban Services and Transportation. Aside the US$1.8 billion, IsDB has made fresh commitments to finance projects in Nigeria in the sum of US$929.6m in the coming months.

The Jeddah-based IsDB Group is deploying US$ 180.27 million for two major projects in Nigeria namely the US$150.52 million for Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) project and US$ 29.75 million for the Nigeria segment of the Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) Phase II Study project for the Nigeria – Morocco Gas Pipeline.

The Special Agro-industrial Processing Zone once operational would enable producers, processors, and the entire agricultural value chain in Nigeria to become more functional and profitable. IsDB says the Zone “is expected to increase household income for the beneficiaries, create 185,000 new jobs, and enhance food security by increasing the yields of key crops.”

The IsDB said the SAPZ Project it is financing will cover almost all activities in FCT, Kano and Kwara amounting to US$55.40 million for FCT; Kano US$41.90 million and Kwara US$ 53.22 million respectively. The agricultural productivity and production programme in Kano State is being co-financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).”

In the infrastructure sector, the IsDB approved funding for upgrading the Minna-Bida Road Project in Niger State in the sum of US$86.64 million. The overall development objective of the project is to contribute to the socio-economic development of Niger State through the construction of a safe, efficient, and cost-effective interconnection among the Local Government Areas the road traverses in Niger State.

“The Project reduces travel time, vehicle operating cost and road maintenance cost, in addition to improved traffic flow and increased road safety,” it as explained.

In the education sector, the ISDB said the nine states of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Osun are benefitting through a project it financed which was designed to improve the socio-economic condition of Nigerians, ensure the provision of inclusive and bilingual education.

He said the aim of the project was to contribute to the improvement of the socio-economic condition of Nigeria, ensure inclusive education and promote bilingual education.

The Nigerian delegation to the 47th Annual Meeting in Egypt should bring more IsDB projects to Nigeria. The team is not there for sightseeing tour to those ancient sites which made that African country a major tourist destination.

Salisu Na’inna wrote from Ɗambatta, Kano state