The African Development Bank has met a private sector consortium from China in a bid to attract investment through partnerships in the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones across Africa.
A statement from the ADB on Thursday further disclosed that officials of the bank, led by Prof. Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, the Senior Special Adviser on Industrialisation to the ADB’s President, paid a courtesy visit to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who assured the consortium of ‘tremendous investment opportunities’ available in Nigeria.
According to the statement, discussions held during the visit centred on Chinese direct investments and partnerships with Nigerian agribusiness as well as ventures with Nigerian state governments and agribusiness in the development of agro-industrial parks.
Osinbajo said, “Nigeria has the potential to become the food basket of the world but this depends on our ability to deploy the right technology.
“Our partnership with you allows us to harness the knowledge and skills to realise this potential. We work with the African Development Bank at the highest levels to ensure that investors face no constraints in doing business,”
The ADB explained that it was committed to developing SAPZs quickly in line with its Feed Africa Strategy, “which aims to turn the massive natural endowment of the agricultural sector into competitive advantages that create wealth and sustainable agribusiness jobs for African youths.”
The strategy, it said, would also guarantee food security and inclusive growth by involving more women and youth as well as promote improved resilience to climate variability and shocks.
“The SAPZ is a model that requires the full commitment of all levels of government and for this reason, the federal and state governments are actively involved in the planning and implementation of the programme,” the statement said.
The statement further quoted Oyelaran-Oyeyinka as saying that “due to the significant financial requirements, private resources will be critical” in the implementation of the SAPZs.
“SAPZs will radically transform Africa’s agriculture into a business-oriented and commercially viable sector that guarantees food self-sufficiency and puts an end to food insecurity, malnutrition and other related challenges,” the ADB statement added.
The statement further disclosed that members of the consortium had meetings on August 7, 2019, with state governors at a meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
African Development Bank Nigeria Country Director, Ebrima Faal, extolled China’s commitment to the development of the African continent since joining the bank group in 1985.
Faal said, “China has supported the concessional funding base of this institution over many years and is a major contributor to ADF-14.
“During the China Africa Cooperation summit in 2015, it pledged a $60bn package to implement a 10-point cooperation plan with Africa.”