According to a statement by the bank on Wednesday, Barrow, who spoke at a high-level briefing session held on Monday, noted that the zones would be rolled out in 18 African countries, including Nigeria.
The statement was titled ‘Federal and state governors endorse Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones Programme: African Development Bank and partners to mobilise $520m for Phase 1’.
“The bank and its development partners are mobilising $520m to co-finance the first phase of the programme in Nigeria, be implemented in phases across six geopolitical zones,” Barrow said.
The statement said representatives of the AfDB, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Islamic Development Bank, provided progress updates on the scheme, following their consultations with key stakeholders within the public and private sectors.
Responding to the announcement, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, affirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to the initiative and providing enabling policies that could attract private sector investment in the zones.
“The Federal Government is committed to successfully implementing the programme to increase agricultural production, reduce poverty, and scale up job creation across the country,” Ahmed said.
According to her, all the 36 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory will be eligible to participate in the SAPZ programme.
She said 20 states and the FCT had already indicated interest in participating the first phase of the scheme.
The states include Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Imo, Cross River, Ogun, Oyo, Bauchi, Lagos, Niger, Jigawa, Ekiti, Lagos, Taraba, Benue, Sokoto, Ondo, Nasarawa, Gombe and Kogi.
“In the same manner that SAPZs have worked in other countries, it will create jobs, develop skills, and facilitate agricultural value chains development in Nigeria,” AfDB’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford, said.
Source: The Punch