The African Development Bank (AfDB), along with partners the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, have announced a substantial investment of $1 billion to establish 24 special agro-industrial processing zones (SAPZs) across Nigeria.
This development follows an initial commitment of $520 million aimed at creating eight SAPZs in the country.
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, unveiled this significant investment during his address at the Norman Borlaug International Dialogue, World Food Prize 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.
The initiative aligns with the food security and diversification policy of Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu administration, emphasizing the importance of agribusiness in the country.
Adesina emphasized the importance of these SAPZs in supporting agricultural value chains, food processing, and value addition.
He said the zones will also promote infrastructure and logistics that facilitate local, regional, and international food trade.
PLATFORM TIMES gathered that the collective investment from the African Development Bank Group, Islamic Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development totals $1.5 billion, with $853 million directly from AfDB.
He explained, “The African Development Bank Group is investing $853 million in the development of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones, and it has mobilized additional co-financing of $661 million for a total commitment of $1.5 billion.
We are deploying effective partnerships at scale, currently implementing 25 Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones in 13 countries.”
Despite some progress in Africa’s agriculture sector, Adesina expressed concern about the 283 million people who still face hunger on the continent, highlighting that this represents roughly one-third of the 828 million people worldwide who suffer from hunger.
The Norman Borlaug International Dialogue World Food Prize 2023 was heralded as an opportunity to combine the power of science, technology, policies, and politics to unlock Africa’s agricultural potential and eliminate hunger.
During the event, the Vice President of Nigeria, Kashim Shettima, discussed the country’s initiatives for food security, noting that the quality of leadership in Nigeria and across Africa will drive agricultural transformation.
Shettima commended leaders like Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of Nigeria, Macky Sall of Senegal, and Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt, as examples of modern African leaders determined to redefine leadership.
Regarding wheat production, Shettima shared ambitious goals, aiming to achieve 50% self-sufficiency in wheat within the next three cycles.
He announced plans to procure heat-tolerant wheat seeds and support farmers with agricultural extension services, fertilizer, and expanded irrigation areas.
In terms of rice production, Shettima acknowledged the challenge of insufficient paddy rice. To address this, the Nigerian government intends to provide farmers with certified seeds, fertilizer, extension services, and digitized support, ultimately working toward rice self-sufficiency by 2027.
With this substantial investment and the commitment of African leaders, it is expected that Nigeria’s agribusiness sector will see significant growth, ultimately reducing hunger and enhancing food security in the region.
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