The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has approved a total financing of $1.8 billion for Nigeria.

The facility includes $971 million in project financing by IsDB, about $288m provided by the Islamic Corporation for the Development (ICD), the bank’s private sector affiliate, $477m in trade operations by its trade arm, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), and $90 million from other Islamic Development Bank funds and operations.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s stake in the IsDB has risen to 8.75 per cent, which places the country as the fourth largest shareholder of the 56-member bank.

The Chairman/President of the bank, Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser, during an official visit to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed the approval yesterday, in Abuja.

In addition, the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), the bank’s investment guarantee arm has provided $1.1billion as business insured and $1billion as a new insurance commitment to help attract businesses and insure them.

Indeed, the IsDB’s active portfolio in Nigeria stands at $1.2billion while the projects have reached about 55 per cent.

He stated that the Islamic bank looks forward to strengthening bilateral relations, as out of the 36 states in Nigeria, IsDB has investments in 16 states.

He said the IsDB is aware of Nigeria’s opportunities and potential for private-sector development, saying it will try to boost activities of the private sector activities of the private arm of the IsDB to assist the development of the private sector and the economic diversification programme of the government.

He added that the IsDB is keen to engage Nigeria on its strategic priorities areas such as economic and social infrastructure, and advisory support for strengthening Islamic financial services.

He stressed that the IsDB is committed to supporting Nigeria to deal with the recovery phase of COVID-19 including providing the necessary support to the private sector to create and revive economic growth.

While pledging support for the SAPZ and the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline projects, he said the bank will need a piece of land to build its permanent office in Abuja.

In her intervention, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed hinted that Nigeria is also partnering with the institution to build an international 300-bed hospital that will be sited in Kaduna state.

She said: “Nigeria has signed an agreement with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to build a 300-bed specialised hospital in Kaduna State. The project will provide comprehensive and qualitative tertiary health services to the sub-region.

“The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is a Multilateral Financial Institution established to foster the economic development and social progress of its 56 member countries. Nigeria is currently the 4th largest shareholder with 8.75% share that entitled it to have a permanent seat on the board of Executive Directors,” she stated.

The President of the African Development Bank (ADB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has urged the Nigerian government to turn floods that are ravaging the country into an agricultural opportunity.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the official launch of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones in Nigeria, Adesina said Nigerian flood is a phenomenon that is well known to him as the Minister of Agriculture.

His words: “I know this very well. I had to deal with the worst floods in Nigeria when I was Minister of Agriculture. We responded very fast, launched the nation’s first dry season farming programme, and produced so much food in the dry season.

We turned the flood into a new opportunity and Nigeria avoided a food crisis. Floods may wash away some land and harvests, but we must not let the hopes of farmers be washed away. Agriculture is critical for the survival of any nation.”

According to Adesina, with 65% of the uncultivated arable land left to feed over nine billion people in the world by 2050 being in Africa, what Africa does with agriculture will determine the future of food in the world.

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