Nigeria: Buhari, Guterres to Co-Chair Special Session On Raising Funds to Recharge Lake Chad

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the acceptance of the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to co-chair a Special Session to raise $50 billion to fund the inter-basin water transfer from Central Africa to revive the Lake Chad.

Mr Buhari on Tuesday at the State House, Abuja, received the response of the Secretary-General to his earlier letter through the President of the African Development Bank, ADB, Nigeria's Akinwumi Adesina.

Receiving the response, Mr Buhari said such a Special Forum was necessary in view of the size of the capital required for the project, which was unavailable to the Lake Chad Basin countries.

Addressing issues directly related to the ADB, the president expressed delight with the successes recorded in the four years of Mr Adesina's tenure at the bank.

Mr Buhari specifically cited the bank's contribution to the growth of Nigeria's agriculture and infrastructure, and commended what he called "its critical gesture in 2016 during the difficult period of economic recession through the issuance of USD600 million budget support facility."

The president, according to a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, used the occasion to highlight the successes achieved by his administration through the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, (ERGP).

The president stressed that his focus will continue to be on diversifying the economy and making it more inclusive as well as the creation of jobs in critical sectors like the Information Communication Technology (ICT) and manufacturing so that "young people will earn a decent living."

He said a lot is being achieved in providing guaranteed off-takers for farmers, and in the provision of infrastructure that includes airports, rail, roads and waterways. President Buhari, however, admitted that "we still have significant work ahead in the provision of power, small scale cottage industries and promotion of the agro-industrial zones coming up in the country."

He then asked for ADB's continued support in this regard.

In his presentation, Mr Adesina thanked Mr Buhari for his support, without which, he said, he would not have been ADB president.

He listed his record of achievements in the last four years among which lending to critical sectors of the Nigerian economy grew to an unprecedented 4.3 billion US Dollars.

Mr Adesina told Mr Buhari that the fortunes of the bank had significantly improved, earning global ratings in accountability and transparency, improved incomes and for making an impact on the lives of millions of its target population.

The ADB president sought the support of the Nigerian leader for a "general capital increase" to fast track the development of the Bank, to which President Buhari gave all assurances and directed the Ministry of Finance to engage and expedite action on the issues brought to the government by the ADB.

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