World Bank, IFC reaffirm support to bridge infrastructure gap in Nigeria

#TrackNigeria The World Bank Group and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), have promised to continue to support Nigeria in bridging its infrastructure gap.

Both organisations said this in a statement issued by the World Bank’s Senior Communications Office in Nigeria, on Monday in Abuja.

Mr Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank Vice President for Africa, Mr Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for the Middle-East and Africa and Mr Hans Lankes, IFC Vice President for Economics and Private Sector Development, were quoted to have discussed at a just concluded visit to Nigeria.

The meeting discussed how the World Bank Group could help Nigeria leverage private and public investments and expertise for inclusive growth.

According to Ghanem,  the Bank can together with the private sector leverage government resources to bridge infrastructure gaps in Nigeria.

“We have supported and seen success in transport, energy and power sectors using Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) models.

“The Azura power project is an example of how we have attracted private sector investment in the power sector.

“We are happy to work with the Government of Nigeria on power sector reforms, which will create a better environment to attract more private sector financing,” Ghanem said.

Pimenta said that the financing needs of developing countries often surpassed their own budgets and available donor funding.

He, however, said that private sector resources and expertise could go a long way in bridging the gap.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa, we are increasingly seeing the private sector design sustainable business models that are creating jobs and lifting people out of poverty,” he said.

According to the statement, the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP), Nigeria faces a 100 billion dollar annual investment gap in infrastructure.

It added that the new approach to mobilise development financing, was also presented during a workshop with key business leaders and policy makers.

According to it, under this approach, the World Bank Group’s institutions will work together to mobilise a range of financing solutions (both private and public) for projects in developing countries.

This, it said, would help expand funding options for low and middle-income countries and enable them to benefit from global best practices and expertise.

Participants at the workshop discussed how to crowd in private sector financing to solve Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit; identified the reforms needed to support PPPs and developed an action plan to generate future PPPs.

The statement highlighted the World Bank’s portfolio in Nigeria to be 11 billion dollars invested across all sectors, while IFC’s portfolio stood at over one billion dollars in sectors including manufacturing, financial services and infrastructure.

The World Bank Group delegation also met with senior government officials including Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika and the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti.(NAN)

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