The African Development Bank (AfDB), with support from other development partners, has launched $520 million Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) in Nigeria with seven States as pioneer beneficiaries.
The African Development Bank is providing $210 million for the development of the SAPZs in Nigeria, in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) which is co-financing with $150 million, and with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which is co-financing with $160 million.
The initial seven States that will benefit from the SAPZs are Cross River, Ogun, Kaduna, Imo, Oyo, Kano States, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while 19 other States in the country have also indicated interest in the programme.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, while launching the SAPZs on Monday in Abuja said that to fully unlock the potential of Nigeria’s agriculture, more needs to be done to promote and support the agribusiness sector.
He noted that transforming agriculture must start with recognizing that agriculture is a business, a wealth-creating sector, not just a way of life.
“Unlocking wealth in agriculture requires the provision of appropriate technologies to boost productivity, development of agricultural value chains, financial structure to support agricultural value chains, and investments in infrastructure to unlock investments by food and agribusinesses.
“That is why the African Development Bank has launched the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs)”, Mr. Adesina pointed out.
According to the AfDB President, “The SAZPs are new economic zones, located in rural areas, to be fully supported by infrastructure (power, water, roads, digital infrastructure, and logistics) that will allow food and agribusiness companies to locate within such zones.
“This will put them close to farmers in production catchment areas, provide market offtakes for farmers, support processing and value addition, reduce food losses, and allow the emergence of highly competitive food and agricultural value chains”.
He explained that the SAPZ programme in Nigeria is the largest in Africa, and has gotten a strong commitment from the Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Finance, and the State Governors, stressing that “the SAPZs in Nigeria are being developed closely with the State Governments”.
Dr. Adesina added: “I was pleased to have hosted several State governors at the African Development Bank Headquarters in Abidjan, including from Ogun State, Kaduna State, Imo State, and Oyo State, to discuss modalities of implementation.
“I am delighted that already 19 additional state governments have indicated interest to also establish special agro-industrial processing zones.
The African Development Bank will work with all development partners to scale up the SAPZs across Nigeria”, noting that “several private sector firms, domestic and foreign, have already expressed keen interests in locating in these zones.
“The States will require competent and experienced private sector developers, facility managers, and operators to complete necessary infrastructure and logistics within their respective special agro-industrial processing zones”.
Dr. Adesina explained that the involvement of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) is designed to boost the private sector and investor confidence in what will be a multi-billion-dollar sector in the years ahead, as the Bank of Industry is committed to financing companies investing in the zones, including small and medium-sized enterprises, commercial farmers, aggregators, input suppliers, primary processors, large processors, and agribusinesses.
He assured that “together with our partners, we will work alongside the States and the Federal Government to help attract finance, support speedy implementation, and ensure that Nigeria unlocks its agricultural potential”.
The AfDB President stressed that the Bank is strongly supporting Nigeria, and has always done so, adding that when Nigeria faced a massive recession in 2016 and needed support and no financial institution in the world was there to provide support, the African Development Bank came to Nigeria’s rescue, with approval of up to $1 billion in budget support.
“We are doing a lot for Nigeria. The African Development Bank’s portfolio in Nigeria, at $4.6 billion, shows the high priority that we accord to Nigeria, across several sectors.
“To boost food production in Nigeria, the African Development Bank is already investing $522 million, with additional co-financing of $420 million from partners.
“To help Africa prevent a food crisis from the Russian war in Ukraine, the African Development Bank launched a $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility, which will support 20 million farmers to access climate resilient agricultural technologies and produce 38 million metric tons of food valued at $12 billion.
“The African Emergency Food Production Facility provided $134 million to Nigeria, one of the highest levels of support across African countries. I would like to thank the Japanese International Development Agency (JICA) for co-financing this with an additional $110 million. That means we collectively made available $244 million for emergency food production in Nigeria”.
Continuing, Dr. Adesina said “hunger in Nigeria cannot be justified. Nigeria has the land, with 34 million hectares of arable land with rich and diverse agroecology. It has water. It has the labor. It has great sunshine. Nigeria must achieve zero hunger. There is no reason for anyone to go hungry in Nigeria”.
He stated that food is a fundamental human right, however, to achieve these results, Nigeria must decisively tackle insecurity challenges that prevent farmers from going to their farms, as the private sector cannot invest when there is insecurity, just as food security needs national security.
Earlier, Dr. Mohamed Suleiman Aljasser, President & Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning told the Minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed that the IsDB needs a piece of land in the FCT to build a befitting office complex.
He said that the Islamic Development Bank has approved a total financing package of $1.8 billion for Nigeria.
“This includes $971 million on budget financing by IsDB, about $288m provided by the Islamic Corporation for the Development (ICD), our private sector affiliate, $477m in trade operations by our trade arm, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), and $90 million from other Islamic Development Bank funds and operations.
“In addition, the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) our investment guarantee arm has provided $1.1 billion as business insured and $ 1 billion as a new insurance commitment to help attract businesses and insure them.
“With the IsDB active portfolio in Nigeria standing now at $1.2 billion and we have completed about 35 percent of all of those projects”, Dr. Aljasser stated.
By Joseph Inokotong,