The Federal Government on Thursday demanded for the hosting of the West Africa Regional Office of the African Development Bank in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, was quoted by her Special Adviser Media and Communications, Oluyinka Akintunde, to have made the demand on Thursday at the commissioning of the Bank’s permanent office building in Abuja by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The new building is the first ever permanent office building outside the African Development Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Nigeria remains the largest shareholder of the Bank since its inception.
In her address at the commissioning of the edifice, Adeosun stated that the new office complex would strengthen Nigeria’s effort and desire for regional integration in the West African Region.
She said: “It is in this regard that I will like to put on record Nigeria’s strong desire and demand to host the regional hub of African Development Bank.
“We think being the largest shareholder of the Bank since inception, and the Country with one of the largest portfolio of its projects, Abuja – Nigeria is the natural and logical place for the Bank’s regional hub.
“Through this investment, the African Development Bank has made Nigeria the first regional member-country to host the Bank-owned office complex.”
The Minister urged the African Development Bank President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina to convey Nigeria’s request to the Bank’s senior management and executive board.
Adeosun, who is Governor-Member of the bank, assured the Bank management of Nigeria’s cooperation and collaborative engagement, adding that the improved relationship had led to an all-time high portfolio level of about US$6 billion spread over 73 projects across private sectors.
The Minister commended the leadership of the Bank for providing a $1 billion budget support loan for Nigeria during the period of economic recession, out of which $600 million had been drawn.
“The signaling effect of that singular act gave the country’s foreign reserves the much needed boost which helped stabilized the Nigerian currency – the naira. The African Development Bank has proved to be quite dependable in the Nigeria’s ongoing economic reforms and also ticks all the right boxes of strengthening our recovery efforts,” she added.
On the issue of eradicating extreme poverty by the year 2030, Adeosun urged African countries to be more effective in fragile and conflict affected states, with the process driven by the African Development Bank.
Earlier in his remarks, the President of the African Development Bank said the Bank would continue to support Nigeria and other African countries in order to accelerate the development of infrastructure and energy in the continent.
“The Bank’s portfolio in Nigeria is currently about $6 billion and we expect these investments to grow to $8 billion by the 2019,”he said.
Adesina disclosed that the Bank had invested $500 million in the Development Bank of Nigeria and would also be committing the sum of $200 million in the Transmission Corporation of Nigeria.
He lauded the incumbent Administration, Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal Capital Territory Administration for their support for the execution and completion of the Bank’s permanent office building in Abuja.