By Modupe Gbadeyanka
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday commissioned the Nigeria Country Office complex of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abuja.
During the event, the President, represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, described the relationship between the African lender and the continent’s largest economy as “marriage”.
In his speech, Mr Buhari said while Africa has made significant strides in economic growth and in poverty reduction, much remains to be done.
According to him, “The goal is clear, to eradicate poverty, create more inclusive socio-economic development and to integrate the continent.”
He noted that to do so, the continent needs to promote growth that creates jobs and provides economic opportunities for all.
“To contribute to this agenda, the African Development Bank, through the High-5s – unveiled by Dr Adesina when he took office in 2015 – is in our view, right on track by investing more in infrastructure, agriculture, education, healthcare, and increased access to, in particular, affordable energy and water.”
President Buhari thanked President and Board of Directors of AfDB for their support to Nigeria at a very difficult time during the 2015/16 economic recession.
He said, “When we requested support from the bank, the response was swift. The Bank approved a budget support loan of $1 billion in November 2016. The first tranche of $600 million has been fully disbursed and utilized and in my discussions with the President of the bank, we will be getting the remainder in the form of sector loans, so we are looking forward to the remaining $400 million.”
Mr Buhari, at the event, noted that with its large market of over 185 million people, Nigeria will continue to be an important player in the bank’s work, advancing efforts to boost regional integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in particular and Africa as a whole.
“We will continue to be a strong and committed partner of AfDB, and to lead by example. We have already clearly demonstrated through the partnership that led to the establishment of the bank’s Nigeria Trust Fund, established in 1976.
“The Trust Fund of more than $500 million has helped to transform the economies and improve the living standards of millions of people in other African countries,” he said.
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