Northern governors want assistance from the AfDB to advance renewable energy and agriculture.

Northern governors want assistance from the AfDB to advance renewable energy and agriculture.
Governors from the North West region of Nigeria have sought the support of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) to enhance cooperation and unlock the vast agricultural potential of the country. The delegation, consisting of seven newly elected governors, met with the Bank's President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, in Abidjan. Led by Katsina State Governor, Dikko Umar Radda, the governors highlighted the region's potential in water and land resources to produce sufficient food, particularly rice and wheat, to feed the nation.

The discussions centered on boosting food production, nutrition, and security, along with innovative approaches to unleash the region's agricultural potential and expedite the implementation of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs). The SAPZs aim to promote increased productivity, value addition, and market access through government-enabled and private sector-driven investments.

Priority areas included opportunities to leverage the AfDB's renewable energy programs, such as the $20 billion Desert-to-Power initiative, which aims to deliver 10,000MW of solar energy to nearly 250 million people across the Sahel region. The lack of irrigation infrastructure, leading to low yields, post-harvest losses, youth unemployment, and underemployment, were identified as key challenges in the region.

The AfDB president assured the governors of the bank's collaboration with the Federal Government to address high food and energy prices. 

He encouraged the governors to promptly select agricultural hubs for the schemes, emphasizing the bank's commitment to providing $1 billion in financing to expand the SAPZ program in Nigeria, benefiting up to 25 states.

Adesina commended the regional approach of the North West governors and highlighted the area's potential for meat processing, particularly in livestock. The Bank's Executive Director for Nigeria urged the governors to develop agribusiness development plans to capitalize on the global attention to agriculture and food production.

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