By Sarah NEGEDU
The Africa Development Bank, AfDB, had scored the FCT Administration high on its state of preparedness towards the establishment of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones, SAPZ, in the nation’s capital, saying it has set a standard for other African government to emulate.
The Vice President for Agriculture Human and Social Development, of the African Development Bank, Dr. Beth Dunford, made the observation in Abuja when she led a delegation of the bank on a joint site visit to Paikon-Kore Grazing Reserve in Gwagwalada Area Council of the FCT.
Dunford affirmed that with the commitment shown by the government, Nigeria could be a model for the rest of the continent to transform, assuring that the management team of the bank are working together to drive this effort to fruition.
According to her, “I am really impressed with what is on ground. I think we know that the Special Industrial Processing Zones are incredibly important for really transforming Nigerian agriculture.
“And to really transform the economy, we all know we have to start with agriculture and this is a way to really bring together the businesses. The infrastructure that we need to fuel the businesses, that we need to add value to provide more jobs, more opportunities and to really turn the small farmers in this area into commercial farmers to improve their livelihood opportunities.
“And what I see here today translate to mean that you all have put all of your efforts and your brains and your time, and your expertise into really building this amazing effort. So we in the African Development Bank are really excited about partnering with the government of Nigeria to make this happen, to make this happen quickly on the continent.”
Speaking earlier, the chairman of the ministerial committee on SAPZ, Prof. Muhammad Usman, commended the entire board and management of the African Development Bank for the commitment towards the establishment of the project in FCT, just as he assured that the administration has awarded the contract for the access road to the project.
He also said; “this project will help us to achieve two developmental objectives; one of which is to partner with the private sector to ensure that we create jobs for the youth, two is to help us build the economy to lift people out of poverty.
“In doing this, the SAPZ occupies a very important pride of place because agriculture is the mainstream of our people, and the partnership will add value to the communities.”
Recall that the sum of $520 million was committed, by four development partners, for the development of the first phase of Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones in some selected states across Nigeria, including the FCT.