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Cross River Kaduna, Oyo States To Benefit From $540m AfDBs Project Funding

Cross River, Kaduna and Oyo state have been selected to benefit from the first phase of $540 million funding from the African Development Bank (AFDB).

The three states are expected to use the funds for the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) in Nigeria.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and publicity attached to the office of the Vice President, Stanley Nkwocha, who made this known, said the time has come for the government and its development partners to act.

The Vice President said: “We have passed the age of talking; we have to walk the talk.

"We can talk from now till eternity and it does not mean anything if there is no action and hence we must make this work.

We just must. “I read a book on how Korea transformed itself with no natural resources, how they started producing steel against all odds, how they went into shipbuilding; and how Hyundai, Daewoo, Samsung, Kia came about.

"I believe that when there is a will there is always a way. We have to walk the talk".

Speaking unbehalf of AfDB, the SSA to the AfDB President, Prof Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, said: “The Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) which is an AfDB initiative is aimed at turning the rural landscape into economic zones of prosperity and harnessing the power of commercial agriculture and food.

"We raised $540,000,000 in catalytic funding and we expect every state to find a partner that will bring equity and join up with them.

It is a government-enabled project but private-sector driven.

“The primary objective is to support inclusive and sustainable agro-industrial development in Nigeria.

"The phase one of the project is at the point of disbursement. Kaduna, Oyo and Cross River States are all in the process of receiving disbursements and we hope for the other states, they can speed up with their documentation so that we can fast-track these states“ he said.

He, however, explained that the first phase of SAPZs is being implemented in Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, and Oyo, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) adding that the agency has set up eligibility criteria for the states which include feasibility report, environmental impact study and a commitment to counterpart funding.

By Abdul SULE (Abuja) and MIssang AKPET (Calabar), The Beagle News