The Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said that the deepening of partnership with the World Bank in agricultural development would usher the state into a new era of prosperity, which will directly impact on the lives of Edo people.

The governor, who said this during a lunch with a team from the World Bank at the Government House in Benin City, noted that the state government has implemented crucial reforms to engender transparency, probity, and accountability in public finance and policy implementation.

The visiting World Bank team consists of its agricultural economist, Adetunji Oredipe and lead financial management specialist, Governance Global Practice, Parminder Brar.

The meeting is coming on the heels of extensive engagements with top hierarchy of the World Bank, which has sent expanded teams to the state in the last couple of months, to assess the progress of development efforts and landmark projects such as the Edo-Azura Power Project, which the Bretton Woods institution is a major partner.

According to the governor, the state government has ensured the implementation of reforms that have made the state attractive to investors and development partners, who have committed to invest in capacity building, technical education, innovation and technology development as well as in attaining the sustainable development goals in the state.

He added that the focus on technical education has attracted investment from the World Bank in the rehabilitation project, which will see the school offer top-of-the-range education in technical areas, and award globally respected certificates to the students.

The state government has been pursuing a multipronged agricultural development plan, which led to a recent visit to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

At the meeting with IITA director general, Nteranya Sanginga, Governor Obaseki reiterated his administration’s vision was to establish a cassava production zone of at least 50,000 hectares where cassava will be produced and processed with the active participation of smallholder farmers and the private sector.

He demanded an actionable plan from IITA that will guide the state in becoming a hub of agricultural development in the region.

The World Bank team assured the governor of continued support on his developmental projects, noting that the World Bank will support the state’s reforms for the benefit of the people

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