The federal government of Nigeria on Thursday signed a financial agreement with the European Union on development projects worth over €900million.
The agreement is in furtherance of the EU- Nigeria corporation to drive the nation’s digital inclusion, green economy and global gateway.
Abubakar Bagudu, the minister of Budget and Economic Planning, who spoke during the event in Abuja said that the EU has remained one of the critical partners of Nigeria, as regards volume, thematic interventions, and geographical assistance.
“The EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue is happening at the take-off of the current administration in Nigeria and presents opportunities for proper articulation and consolidation of priorities in our partnership,” he said.
The agreements aimed to drive global gateway include: climate smart agriculture (€29 million); sustainable energy (€37 million); access to health services (€45 million); and education: support to youth and education development in the North West region (€5.4 million) which will launch to contribute to policy improvement of the teaching profession and the capacity building of teachers.
Similarly, the second signed agreement aims to strengthen access in the Nigerian social protection safety net (€46 million); support to border management and reintegration of returnees (€28.4 million); support to the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of Boko Haram combatants in the North East region (€20 million); and, support to improving the criminal justice system, access to justice and the fight against corruption (€30 million).
The third signed finance agreement was a loan issued to two Nigerian private companies and banks by the European Investment Bank, as part of the Global Gateway strategy.
This includes a “2X challenge” €50 million credit facility with Access Bank for loans to female entrepreneurs and managers in Nigeria, expected to create jobs and growth in line with the green economy priorities. The second €14 million loan was for Emzor Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients to finance the construction of a manufacturing plant for the production of anti-malarial drugs.
Other expected signings are financing agreement for the completion of the Lagos Inland waterway project- €130; Development Bank of Nigeria lending to innovative and green SMEs in Nigeria €200; Access to Agric-market rural roads €150 and another €20m for Husk renewable energy to finance construction of about 150 small PV-hybrid mini-grids with a total PV capacity of 15 MWp, benefiting some 54,000 households and 6,000 SMEs.
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In her remarks, Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, said, “I am delighted to be visiting Nigeria to further strengthen our partnership, and I look forward to launching a package of new actions, as part of the Global Gateway strategy and EU support to Government priorities.
“Building on our long-standing cooperation, and in the best spirit of shared responsibility, commitment and accountability, the EU will continue to invest in our common future and priorities of security, democracy and prosperity for all – not least through the package of loans and grants I am signing and launching here today that will benefit the Nigerian businesses, farmers, youth and the society a as whole.”