AfDB and Nigeria Sign a US$ 43 Million Skill Training and Vocational Education Project Loan Agreement
Abuja, 22 May 2006 - The African Development Bank (ADB) President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, and the Nigerian Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Sunday signed a loan agreement of 30 million Units of Account (Equivalent to $43 million) to finance a Skills Training and Vocational Education Project (STVEP).
While signing the loan agreement in Abuja, Mr. Kaberuka said the loan represented the Bank’s first intervention in the education sector in the country. "Education and the social sector in general is one of the priority areas in the bank’s support to its regional member countries," he said.
"We recognize it as a key ingredient in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and towards long-term sustainable development," he said.
The ADB President noted that Nigeria was a country that continued to undergo socio-economic transformation, for which a productive competent and flexible human resource was a prerequisite. "Already, the demand for skilled workers in the expanding Nigerian economy is acute and will become stronger as the industrial and services sectors’ importance in terms job creation and employment continues to rise," he added.
The African Development Fund (ADF) loan, the Bank Group’s concessionary window, will complement Nigerian government efforts aimed at revitalizing vocational and technical education given that the project’s objective is to improve access to education and enhance vocational education quality and efficiency, as well as provide training for youths, women, the disadvantaged and the unemployed, he said.
The project, he said, would rehabilitate and build new classrooms and workshops, provide additional teaching and learning facilities, train teachers and administrators, develop competency-based curricula, support a school maintenance culture and labour market analysis as well as market- and policy-oriented studies whose objective is to improve vocational and technical education, he added.
Nigera’s Finance Minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for her part, said the Nigerian government needed to do more in the area of skills training and vocational education in order to produce skillful, resourceful and trained manpower for poverty reduction and employment generation.
The minister of education, Mrs. Grace Obaja, expressed the gratitude of the education ministry and that of the people of Nigeria for the grant and assured that the loan would be judiciously utilized.
Nigeria is one of the Bank Group’s biggest clients. The current loan brings the Bank Group’s cumulative commitments in the country to AU 2 billion (about $3 billion) in 51 operations.