A delegation of 10 executive directors from the World Bank Group have visited Nigeria to get a better understanding of the country’s development priorities with a special focus on the energy sector.
The delegation which held discussions with the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, executive governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Edo, Lagos, Taraba and Yobe, other senior government officials at the federal and state levels, discussed the security challenges in the north-east and middle belt region and how to achieve development in this challenging environment.
Executive director for Italy, Albania, Greece, Malta, Portugal, San Marino and Timor-Leste, and spokesman for the delegation, Patrizio Pagano said, “Our visit to Nigeria is to help us get a better understanding of the country context, assess the World Bank’s interventions on the ground, and support opportunities that will keep the country on a path of sustained development.”
The delegation therefore commended Nigeria’s implementation of its new Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) and the Power Sector Recovery Plan (PSRP) both of which are important for regional integration to ensure trade and capital flows, which they said would ultimately lead to greater growth.
They also met with beneficiaries of the WBG’s supported projects in agriculture, education, health, youth employment, community development, soil erosion and public financial management, as well as representatives of the private sector, civil society organisations, diplomatic missions and development partners. As part of their itinerary , they visited the newly- commissioned Azura-Edo Power Plant in Benin City, which is a key project in the government’s power sector reform agenda and is supported by three arms of the World Bank Group, i.e. the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the World Bank.
In Lagos, the delegation also visited microfinance clients, mostly women, to gain an understanding in how the funds they receive impact their livelihoods; and they had an interactive meeting with private sector executives, which highlighted the need to sustain business reforms and provide affordable and reliable power to improve the living standards of all Nigerians and ensure that the private sector can play its role in job creation and inclusive growth.
They observed that Nigeria continues to implement institutional policy reforms for restoring macroeconomic resilience and growth across sectors with support from the World Bank Group and reiterated the WBG’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s growth in a way that is inclusive, job enhancing, and reduces poverty and inequality.
Critical to this inclusive growth objective is reforming the power sector, boosting critical investments in human development, and mobilising finance for development by creating a conducive environment for private sector participation.
The delegation further emphasized the importance of Nigeria to the sub-region and therefore the country’s central role in the WBG’s regional strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Nigeria has been one of IFC’s fastest growing portfolios and represents IFC’s fifth largest global country exposure, with a committed volume of US$1.6 billion. Nigeria is MIGA’s fifth largest country exposure in Sub-Saharan Africa, with $334 million in current exposure.
The Nigeria Country Partnership Strategy extending to FY19 has an investment of $8.8 billion through the International Development Association (IDA) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
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