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At World Food Prize Dialogue: AfDB, Partners Vote Additional $1bn To Fund Nigeria’s SAPZs In 24 States

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At World Food Prize Dialogue: AfDB, Partners Vote Additional $1bn To Fund Nigeria’s SAPZs In 24 States

By: Our Reporter

It was yet another bountiful harvest for the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration in its investment drive, as the African Development Bank (AfDB), Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development hinted on Thursday that they have voted $1 billion to further deliver special agro-industrial processing zones in 24 States of Nigeria.

This is in addition to an initial $520 million voted by the development partners for the development of eight special agro-industrial processing zones in Nigeria.

President of African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, disclosed this at the Norman Borlaug International Dialogue, World Food Prize 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa, United States of America.

Vice President Kashim Shettima, who is attending the event in pursuance of the food security and diversification policy of the Tinubu administration, had on Wednesday delivered his keynote address at the ongoing Dialogue.

Delivering his own speech titled, “From Dakar to Des Moines,” Dr. Adesina noted that the decision to pump such huge funds into Nigeria’s agribusiness was part of the resolve to develop Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) in 13 countries.

Explaining that it was the core of the food and agriculture delivery compacts from the Dakar 2 Summit held earlier this year in Dakar, Senegal, the AfDB President said, “We are investing heavily in the development of SAPZs to support the development of agricultural value chains, food processing and value addition, enabling infrastructure and logistics to promote local, regional, and international trade in food.

“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. We are currently implementing 25 Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones in 13 countries.

“For example, the African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development provided $520 million for the development of 8 special agro-industrial processing zones in Nigeria. The second phase of the program aims to mobilize an additional $1 billion to deliver special agro-industrial processing zones in 24 States of Nigeria”.

Dr. Adesina regretted that while much progress had “been made in African agriculture, 283 million people still go to bed hungry in Africa, about a third of the 828 million people that suffer hunger globally.”

He however described the Norman Borlaug International Dialogue World Food Prize 2023, as a “journey and narrative of how we are combining the power of science, technology, policies, and politics to ensure that Africa fully unlocks its agricultural potential, and feeds itself, with pride.”

The AfDB President thanked Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, for participating in the global event, saying their presence is an indication “that Africa has the political will and is fully ready to tackle food insecurity and make hunger history” on the continent.

Also speaking during the fire-side chat with the AfDB President, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, Vice President Kashim Shettima who spoke on the Tinubu administration’s initiatives for food security said the quality of present leadership in Nigeria and the rest of Africa will drive transformation in agriculture and other sectors.

According to him, “a nation falls or rises fundamentally due to the quality of its leadership. Right now Africa is blessed with quite a handful of quality leaders that have the drive, passion and skills set to redefine the meaning and concept of modern leadership.

“Bola Ahmed Tinubu, my boss, is a good example, Macky Sall of Senegal and of course, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt are doing wonderfully well, just to mention a few of the African leaders that are distinguishing themselves in leadership.

“I want to assure this gathering of investors and stakeholders in the agricultural sector that my boss, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a quintessential 21st century modern African leader who is determined to redefine the meaning and concept of modern leadership.

“Be rest assured that there will be a sea change in the fortunes of the Nigerian nation and by extention the African continent in the next couple of years because Nigeria is an anchor nation,” the VP added.

On wheat production, Sen. Shettima said “our target towards wheat production in Nigeria is to achieve 50% self sufficiency in the next 3 cycles. It is inconceivable that we are the second largest wheat importer in the world.

“Luckily, we have already procured the heat tolerant variety of wheat seeds and we are going to drive that process by supporting the farmers with the heat tolerant variety, agricultural extention services, fertilizer and also hope to increase the irrigation areas to 1 million hectares in the next cropping cycle.

“We need to produce about 2.4 million tonnes of wheat grains in Nigeria. We are going to reach out to our farmers through small irrigation schemes and through digitalisation. All the actors in the value chain will be sufficiently taken care of through innovative finance, partial credit guarantees and crop insurance,” the VP emphasized.

For rice production, the VP said the major challenge for Nigeria is the insufficiency of paddy rice. He noted that Nigeria has adequate milling capacity but “we need to produce 3 to 4 million tonnes of paddy rice to meet our requirement of about 2.5 million tonnes per annum. We have 75 million hectares of arable land and most of it suited for rice cultivation.”

He added that “we will provide our farmers with certified seeds, fertilzer, extension services, the digitlization of services, inputs, finance and market information. Our target is to achieve self sufficiency in rice latest by 2027.”

The VP also spoke about the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs), reiterating the Tinubu administration’s commitment to providing an enabling environment for investors in the zones.

He said government would create an SAPZ development authority that will operate like a one-stop shop where regulatory and associated issues will be addressed.

At World Food Prize Dialogue: AfDB, Partners Vote Additional $1bn To Fund Nigeria’s SAPZs In 24 States

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Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

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Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

By: Our Reporter

Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, on Sunday, said his administration cannot do more regarding distributing food items to internally displaced persons and vulnerable residents.

Zulum stated this in Mafa while addressing a group of internally displaced persons who have protested, threatening to go to the bush where Boko Haram terrorists camped.

The governor expressed displeasure over the action, and he said, “Yesterday, I received a report that some IDPs in Dikwa have protested that they will return to the bush because we could not provide food for them. This afternoon, others in Mafa have also done the same.”

Zulum said, “In the last couple of years, we have consistently provided food to internally displaced and vulnerable people. Believe me, what we are doing is even beyond our capacity.

“In the last four years, the Government of Borno State spent nothing less than N40b to provide food and non-food items to the people of the state.”

The governor said, “No government, be it state or federal, has the capacity to provide food to everyone and let me categorically state that I cannot do more than this,”

“The hardship we are facing is not only in Borno State but all over Nigeria. There are economic crises in all parts of the world. No state in Nigeria is doing better in the distribution of palliative than Borno,” Zulum stated.

He added, “We distributed food to IDPs and vulnerable communities every quarter. However, with the improvement in the security situation, we decided to reduce the number of our distribution because people have started earning their livelihood.”

“Most of you here (more than 80%) now have access to agricultural land, and I believe you have cultivated your farmlands and harvested your farm produce.”

“Both state and federal governments spend huge amounts of money on security. We have realised substantial progress in terms of development and security. Let me be frank with you that we will not condone mischievous acts by anyone.

The governor expressed gratitude to the federal government for providing the needed support to attain substantial peace in Borno State.

Hardship: Zulum addresses IDPs threatening to go to bush, says I can’t do more

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Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

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Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

By: Michael Mike

The disputed Business and Investment Forum (BIF) planned during the proposed official visit of President Bola Tinubu to Qatar is now going to hold, the Embassy of Qatar in Nigeria has revealed in an official correspondence with Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs.

It would be recalled that a leak official correspondence between The Qatari government and Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs last week had said the forum would not be holding during Nigeria’s President planned visit on March 2 and 3 due to the lack of a legally binding agreement between Qatar and Nigeria for the promotion of investment.

The leaked correspondence had also said Qatar’s ministry of commerce had other commitments on the days Nigeria’s president desired to visit.

Qatar further stressed that its commerce and industry minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani “will be carrying out official missions outside the country during the upcoming visit period” which makes him unavailable to meet with the Nigerian side for business and investment purpose.

The country also added that its officials would be too busy because Qatar was hosting its own “web summit” the same time Nigeria’s president planned to visit.

“The State of Qatar will be hosting a web summit during the suggested period and the state’s authorities will be preoccupied with this event,” the letter stated.

But in the latest correspondence between the Embassy of Qatar in Nigeria and the Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that the Qatar Chamber of Commerce will host the event on 3rd March 2024, as proposed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In the correspondence, the Embassy said it was glad to convey the readiness of Qatar Chamber of Commerce to host the forum to the Nigerian government.

Reacting to the latest correspondence in a statement on Sunday, the Special Adviser to Amb. Yusuf Tuggar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alkasim Abdulkadir said the clarification has become necessary to clear deliberate misinformation and misrepresentations in the media on the purported cancellation of the event.

Disputed Business and Investment Forum Now to Hold During President Tinubu’s Official Visit to Qatar- Embassy

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Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

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Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

Members of the Council of European Union’s Africa Working Party (COAFR) have arrived in Abuja to begin a four-day working visit to the country.

During the visit taking place from 26-29 February 2024, the COAFR members will engage with Nigerian authorities, government agencies, civil society groups, regional and international organisations and private sector actors in Abuja and in Lagos.

According to a statement on Sunday by the European Union in Nigeria, the Africa Working Party (COAFR) is mandated with the supervision and management of EU external policy towards the 46 countries of the sub-Saharan Africa, the African Union and other sub-regional organisations, including ECOWAS.

The Africa Working Party (COAFR) is composed of representatives of all 27 EU Member States, chaired by a permanent member of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and assisted by representatives of the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council. It works under the auspices of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), itself composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and/or development of the 27 Member States of the European Union.

The statement said in Abuja, the visiting COAFR members will meet with key Federal Government ministries and agencies starting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, among others.

They will also have an interactive session with the ECOWAS Commission on regional developments and integration processes.
In Lagos, the COAFR is expected to meet with the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Consuls General of EU Member States, and the leadership of the European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria.

They will also visit several EU-funded projects in the state featuring digital and innovation, critical infrastructure and connectivity and migration. Deliberations during the meetings will centre on further boosting EU-Nigeria partnership.

The Africa Working Party’s (COAFR) visits to African countries aim at promoting direct contact, mutual information exchange and feedback between the political and foreign policy organs of the European Union and their African counterparts. They play an important role on taking stock of state and non-state actors views, perspectives, aspirations and expectations regarding their partnership with the European Union, its closest neighbour and its sister continent.

The team will commence a similar visit to the neighbouring Republic of Benin at the end of its current mission in Nigeria.

According to the statement, this is the group’s first-ever working visit to Nigeria, noting that in addition to the representatives of 17 EU Member States also officials from EU institutions, are expected to be in the team.

The statement further revealed that this year’s working visit will be the eleventh visit of the COAFR to the African continent, and the third visit to West Africa – following earlier visits to Senegal and Burkina Faso (2015) and Ivory Coast and Ghana (2019).

It said more than ever before, several top EU officials have visited Nigeria in recent years and months, underlining the importance the EU accords its partnership with the country.

Last October, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnership, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, her counterpart for Energy, Ms. Kadri Simson, led other top officials to participate in the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue Meeting held Abuja. The Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms Helena Konig, and the Managing Director, Africa at the EEAS, Ms. Rita Laranjinha, were also in the country shortly before then, following the visits in 2022 of European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in February 2022, EU and Member States Maritime Security Coordinators in April 2022 and senior officials of the European Commission in charge of Energy and Home Affairs.
is mandated with the supervision and management of EU external policy towards the 46 countries of the sub-Saharan Africa, the African Union and other sub-regional organisations, including ECOWAS.

The Africa Working Party (COAFR) is composed of representatives of all 27 EU Member States, chaired by a permanent member of the European External Action Service (EEAS), and assisted by representatives of the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council. It works under the auspices of the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), itself composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and/or development of the 27 Member States of the European Union.

In Abuja, the visiting COAFR members will meet with key Federal Government ministries and agencies starting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, among others. They will also have an interactive session with the ECOWAS Commission on regional developments and integration processes.

In Lagos, the COAFR is expected to meet with the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Consuls General of EU Member States, and the leadership of the European Business Chamber (EuroCham) Nigeria.

They will also visit several EU-funded projects in the state featuring digital and innovation, critical infrastructure and connectivity and migration. Deliberations during the meetings will centre on further boosting EU-Nigeria partnership.

The Africa Working Party’s (COAFR) visits to African countries aim at promoting direct contact, mutual information exchange and feedback between the political and foreign policy organs of the European Union and their African counterparts. They play an important role on taking stock of state and non-state actors views, perspectives, aspirations and expectations regarding their partnership with the European Union, its closest neighbour and its sister continent. The team will commence a similar visit to the neighbouring Republic of Benin at the end of its current mission in Nigeria.

This is the group’s first-ever working visit to Nigeria. In addition to the representatives of 17 EU Member States also officials from EU institutions, are expected to be in the team. This year’s working visit will be the eleventh visit of the COAFR to the African continent, and the third visit to West Africa – following earlier visits to Senegal and Burkina Faso (2015) and Ivory Coast and Ghana (2019).
More than ever before, several top EU officials have visited Nigeria in recent years and months, underlining the importance the EU accords its partnership with the country. Last October, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnership, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, her counterpart for Energy, Ms. Kadri Simson, led other top officials to participate in the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue Meeting held Abuja. The Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ms Helena Konig, and the Managing Director, Africa at the EEAS, Ms. Rita Laranjinha, were also in the country shortly before then, following the visits in 2022 of European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager in February 2022, EU and Member States Maritime Security Coordinators in April 2022 and senior officials of the European Commission in charge of Energy and Home Affairs.

Council of European Union’s Africa Working Group Begins 4-day Visit to Nigeria

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