AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) officials have announced an ambitious Nigerian trade industrialisation plan centred around the creation of special agro-industrial processing zones (SAPZ) that will create an unprecedented 400,000 jobs across the country.
Lamin Barrow, AfDB’a Nigeria country director-general, noted that being government-enabled and private sector- led, phase one of the SAPZ programme will mobilise significant investments in the agro-industrial hubs and agricultural transformation centres. Speaking at the Agribusiness and Food Security Summit in Lagos, Mr Barrow said the bank will bankroll the job-creation programme.
Mr Barrow added: “It will impact some 1.5m households as direct beneficiaries, with a target to create 400,000 direct jobs and up to 1.6m indirect jobs. The bank and other co-financiers International Fund for Agriculture Development (Ifad) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) have approved $538m to finance the first phase of the programme in seven states and the Federal Capital Territory.
He stressed that the programme will support Nigeria’s efforts to raise agricultural productivity, promote investments, create wealth and jobs and transform the rural areas from being zones of misery into zones of economic prosperity. Mr Barrow said the bank is supporting Nigeria to implement bold policy measures to drive the transformation of agriculture and foster economic diversification through the development of SAPZs.
These zones, he added, will be enabled with infrastructure and logistics to support private sector food and agri-business companies to process and add value to agricultural commodities close to the areas of production.