“The Nigerian Private sector has a critical role to play to help the country come out of the present recession,” African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, said in Abuja on Thursday, 28 September 2016.
“Nigeria is too big to fail, and the private sector can help the government to the tackle the headwinds affecting the economy, which are by no means unique to Nigeria at this time” Adesina said during a brain storming session with Nigerian business executives.
Noting that other Africa oil exporters such as Angola and Equatorial Guinea faced similar challenges, the AfDB President said it was important for the private sector to take advantage of the incentives that should accompany the devaluation of the local currency, the naira, to boost production, especially in the agri-industrial sector.
“The intensification of agricultural production would boost food production and create employment across the country,” he said.
The meeting, held on the last day of President Adesina’s three-day official visit to Nigeria, examined a host of issues including the macro-economic landscape, inflation and the interest rate regime. The meeting also discussed the impact of infrastructure deficit on industrial development, security concerns, unemployment and acute skills shortage.
Adesina and his team highlighted a range of support funding that the Bank is providing in sectors such as energy, agriculture, transportation and economic integration across West Africa to help domesticate economic production and grow economies of scale.
The Bank has invested US$180 million for power distribution and another US$ 200 million in the electricity transmission company in Nigeria, he said.
Ultimately, the Bank aims to reaching 75 million people through off-grid systems that can reach the large majority of poor and rural people who lack access to electricity.
“We are focusing on energy, the most important infrastructure in Africa which impacts every human activity,” he said.
On integration, he said the Bank is pushing the Lagos-Abidjan and Abidjan-Dakar highways to link markets across West Africa. It is also working on linking the Casablanca, Lagos, Abidjan, Nairobi and Johannesburg stock exchanges to promote regional financial integration.
Some three dozen business executives attended the two-hour session.