Kwara State Government has opened talks with the African Development Bank (AfDB) on various areas of partnership, including road construction, small and medium scale enterprises with focus on women empowerment, energy, and agro-processing.
The proposed partnership is the outcome of a meeting Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq held with the AfDB team in Abuja on Monday during which he spelt out the priorities of his new administration and sought the buy-in of the development body, according to a statement on Wednesday by AbdulRazaq’s spokesman, Rafiu Ajakaye.
The meeting was attended by AfDB Country Director Ebrimal Faal and other top officials of the agency.
The statement said the Governor identified the priority areas to include education, healthcare, infrastructure, agriculture, women and youth empowerment, and entrepreneurship and what steps he has taken on them like recent multimillion Naira counterpart funds he recently released to access various development funds.
It quoted AbdulRazaq as saying that the administration plans to develop agribusiness and promote agroprocessing with special focus on commodities like sugarcane, rice and cashew, among others.
The Governor mentioned some investments in these areas to include the $350m sugar refinery being constructed by the BUA Group and the 16,000 hectares of sugarcane plantation owned by the Dangote Group, according to the statement.
“Consequently, Kwara is eyeing a partnership with the AfDB for the construction of Kosubosu-Lafiagi road. There will also be further talks on how Kwara can benefit from AfDB’s initiatives like the $50m facility to support SMEs and women-owned businesses, $200m project for National Electrification and transmission lines; and AfDB agro-industrial development development through its Special Agro -Industrial Processing Zone being pursued with some Chinese investors, among others,” the statement said.
A team of experts from the AfDB is expected in Kwara later in the year to identify projects in the priority areas, it added.
It said the AfDB has also invited AbdulRazaq to attend the business-to-business (B2B) meetings with some Chinese investors along with some other governors in Abuja on August 7, setting the ground for future engagements between the Kwara State Government, AfDB and the investors.