President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the acceptance of the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to co-chair a special session to raise $50 billion to fund the inter-basin water transfer from Central Africa to revive the Lake Chad.
Receiving the response of the Secretary-General to his earlier letter through the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr Akinwumi Adesina at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday, the president said such special forum was necessary in view of the size of capital required for the project which was unavailable to the Lake Chad Basin countries.
Addressing issues directly related to the AfDB, the president expressed delight with successes recorded in the four years of Adesina’s tenure at the bank.
He specifically cited the bank’s contribution to the growth of Nigeria’s agriculture and infrastructure, and commended what he called “its critical gesture in 2016 during the difficult period of economic recession through the issuance of USD600 million budget support facility.”
The president used the occasion to highlight the successes achieved by the administration through the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, stressing that his focus would continue to be on diversifying the economy and making it more inclusive and the creation of jobs in critical sectors like the Information Communication Technology and manufacturing so that “young people will earn a decent living.”
He said a lot is being achieved in providing guaranteed off-takers for farmers, and in the provision of infrastructure that include airports, rail, roads and water ways.
He said “we still have significant work ahead in the provision of power, small scale cottage industries and promotion of the agro-industrial zones coming up in the country,” and asked for AfDB’s continued support in this regard.
In his presentation, Dr Akinwumi Adesina thanked the president for his support, without which, he said, he would not have been AfDB president.
He said his achievements in the last four years include lending to critical sectors of the Nigerian economy grew to an unprecedented 4.3 billion US Dollars, among other things.
He said the fortunes of the bank had significantly improved, earning global ratings in accountability and transparency, improved incomes and for making impact on the lives of millions of its target population.
The AfDB president sought the support of the Nigerian leader for a “general capital increase” to fast track the development of the bank, to which the president gave all assurances and directed the Ministry of Finance to expedite action on the issues brought to the government by the AfDB.