Nigeria, EU sign over €900m finance agreement for development projects

Nigeria and the European Union on Thursday signed finance agreements worth over €900 million for various development projects.

The agreements were signed during the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue in Abuja.

This formed a central part of the EU-Nigeria cooperation to advance the country’s green, resilient, digital inclusive transition under government priorities and Global Gateway.

Developed jointly between the EU and Nigeria, the first signed agreement would drive new programmes through Global Gateway as follows: 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.

In addition to these areas of support, the second signed agreement will also contribute to building 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.

The European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said EU would continue to invest in priorities of security, democracy and prosperity for all.

She noted, “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.”

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, stated that the EU-Nigeria relations is one of the most vibrant development partnerships in terms of volume, thematic interventions, and geographical spread in deployment of resources.

Bagudu added, “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.”

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