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W’Bank devoted over $11bn to Nigeria in 3yrs

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By Abraham Adekunle

Global financial institution says the country is at a critical stage.

Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, has said that the financial institution has committed over $11 billion in the past three years to the Nigerian government at both the federal and the sub-national levels. The director said this at the opening of a three-day cabinet retreat for ministers, presidential aides, permanent secretaries, and top government functionaries at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja. He said that the country was at a critical juncture to either continue going through business as usual with the risk of things falling apart or have the courage to chart a new course to take bold steps to see Nigeria finally rise to its true potential.

According to him, he hopes that through what the bank has been able to do, it will be able to continue supporting the country as it realizes this enormously important task. In his words, “Although we are at the World Bank, we’re a development organisation, and over the last three and a half, four years that I’ve been here, our board has committed over $11 billion in financing for the government, and our financing is meant to go to the government at both the federal and at the sub-national levels.”

Nigerian government should see W’Bank as more than just a bank.

Furthermore, he said that even though the organization has “World Bank” in its name, it is his hope that people think of it as more than just a bank. Chaudhuri hopes that the bank will be able to earn Nigeria trust and show that it has something more to offer like solutions to help think through and then implement the priorities, and the focus areas laid out by bringing in ideas and experience. So, financing is only part of the solution. The main solution is really the ideas and the vision. He expressed his commitment and that of the entire World Bank to supporting the country.

Chaudhuri also added that he felt privileged to have been in Nigeria for the last four years, especially in the last few months at this critical juncture where Nigeria faced the critical choice of
whether to continue business as usual or do something entirely new. While commending President Tinubu’s bold steps since the assumption of office, he said that in the last few months, the economy, society, the people, Nigerians have had to live through hard times, and the country has continued to be on the edge.

British Int’l Investment opens an office in Lagos, Nigeria.

He ended his speech by saying that the time has come to rebuild and recover, and that the president should count on the World Bank’s support even as there will still be some incredibly hard choices and decisions that the president and his cabinet will need to make. On his part, Richard Montgomery, British High Commissioner, said that Nigeria faces big security, economic, and
social challenges, but the United Kingdom’s government was willing to support the Tinubu-led administration.

Recently, British International Investment Plc, the UK government’s development finance institution, opened an office in Nigeria this week and said that it aims to commit $200 million before the end of the year. According to Benson Adenuga, who will be the lead for the new office, “We intend to invest about a billion dollars every year in Africa and a larger proportion of that investment will come to Nigeria.” The office will be located in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, and will serve as regional headquarters for BII’s West African operations. It will be the agency’s fourth office on the continent and joins operations in South Africa, Kenya and Egypt.

BII plans to invest $6bn in Africa in a five-year period.

Meanwhile, the organisation had said last year that it plans to invest $6 billion in Africa over the next five years in areas ranging from renewable power and digital infrastructure to supporting women-owned businesses. In Nigeria, it will support the government’s development initiatives through investments in key sectors such as food security, power infrastructure and manufacturing, Adenuga said. As it is, BII plans to complete investments in two Nigerian agriculture and processing firms by year-end after signing deals to invest $26.5 million in AFEX Commodities Exchange Ltd.

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