Kwara, AfDB collaborate on infrastructure, women empowerment

Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin

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Kwara State Government is to partner African Development Bank (AfDB) in various areas like road construction, small and medium-scale enterprises with focus on women empowerment, energy and agro-processing.

Mr Rafiu Ajakaiye, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, said in a statement on Wednesday in Ilorin that the state governor met with AfDB team in Abuja on Monday.

The meeting was attended by AfDB Country Director, Ebrimal Faal, and other top officials of the bank.

The governor identified his priority areas to include education, healthcare, infrastructure, agriculture, women and youth empowerment as well as entrepreneurship.

AbdulRazaq told the team that his administration had taken steps to access development funds by paying various counterpart funds the last administration did not pay.

The governor was quoted as saying that the administration planned to develop agribusiness and promote agro processing with special focus on commodities like sugarcane, rice and cashew, among others.

He listed 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.

“Consequently, Kwara is eyeing a partnership with the AfDB for the construction of Kosubosu-Lafiagi road,” he said.

The governor is also to hold talks with the AfDB on ways the state can benefit from the bank’s various intervention programmes.

He listed such programmes to include the $50 million facility to support SMEs and women-owned businesses, $200 million for National Electrification and transmission lines.

Others are AfDB agro-industrial development through its Special Agro -Industrial Processing Zone being pursued with some Chinese investors.

A team of experts from the AfDB is expected in the state later in the year to identify projects in the priority areas.

The statement said AfDB had invited AbdulRazaq to attend the Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings with some Chinese investors along with some other governors in Abuja on August 7.

The meeting will set the ground for future engagements between the Kwara State Government, AfDB and the investors.