The African Development Bank in Nigeria met a private sector consortium from China to help attract investment through partnerships in the development of special agro-industrial processing zones (SAPZs) across Africa.
The bank's delegation, led by Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, the senior special adviser on industrialisation to the African Development Bank's president, paid a courtesy call on Nigeria's vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, who assured the consortium of the tremendous investment opportunities Nigeria offers.
Discussions centred on Chinese direct investments and partnerships with Nigerian agribusinesses, as well as ventures with Nigerian state governments and agribusinesses in the development of agro-industrial parks.
"Nigeria has the potential to become the food basket of the world, but this depends on our ability to deploy the right technology. Our partnership with you allows us to harness the knowledge and skills to realise this potential. We work with the African Development Bank at the highest levels to ensure that investors face no constraints in doing business," Osinbajo said.
The bank is committed to developing SAPZs quickly, in line with its Feed Africa Strategy - which aims to turn the massive natural endowment of the sector into competitive advantages that create wealth and sustainable agribusiness jobs for the African youth. The strategy will also guarantee food security and inclusive growth by involving more women and youth, and promoting improved resilience to climate variability and shocks.
The SAPZ is a model which requires the full commitment of all levels of government, and for this reason, the federal and state governments are actively involved in the planning and implementation of the programme. Oyelaran-Oyeyinka noted that "due to the significant financial requirements, private resources will be critical".
SAPZs will radically transform Africa's agriculture into a business-oriented and commercially viable sector that guarantees food self-sufficiency, and puts an end to food insecurity, malnutrition and other related challenges.
Members of the consortium had meetings on 7 August with state governors at the Nigerian governors' forum.
Ebrima Faal, African Development Bank Nigeria country director extolled China's commitment to the development of the African continent since joining the bank group in 1985.
"China has supported the concessional funding base of this institution over many years, and is a major contributor to ADF-14. During the China Africa cooperation summit in 2015, it pledged a US$60 billion package to implement a 10-point cooperation plan with Africa. China also established the Africa Growing Together Fund, which became operational in November 2014 with US$2 billion for 10 years, alongside the bank's own resources to finance eligible projects in Africa," he added.