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Monday, April 15, 2024

AfDB approves $134m emergency food plan for Nigeria amid rising inflation crisis

Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB President, Outlines Measures to Boost Food Production and Address Economic Challenges

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has greenlit a $134 million emergency food production plan for Nigeria to combat the country’s surging inflation crisis, according to AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.

Speaking to journalists in Lagos on Monday, Adesina disclosed that talks were underway for a $1.7 billion economic and budget support loan, alongside plans to launch a $1 billion agro-industrial initiative spanning 28 states.

The approval of the emergency food plan comes in the wake of severe food shortages triggering protests across Nigerian states and attacks on grain warehouses in Abuja, Ogun, Niger, and Kaduna states.

Adesina highlighted the impact of last June’s fuel subsidy removal and exchange rate unification policies, exacerbating economic hardships with inflation nearing 30 percent and weak consumer purchasing power dampening economic growth.

Nevertheless, Adesina reassured Nigeria of AfDB’s commitment to provide substantial support during this challenging period, outlining a series of agricultural initiatives aimed at yielding five million metric tons of wheat, rice, cassava, and maize this year.

He stressed the importance of addressing food inflation, emphasizing the need to enhance food production and distribution infrastructure, including the revival of the electronic wallet system for direct dissemination of seeds and fertilizers to farmers.

Adesina underscored the significance of low-interest concessionary financing to navigate Nigeria’s economic challenges, highlighting the need to address forex shortages and structural drivers of inflation.

The proposed $1.7 billion economic and budget support loan, subject to board approval, aims to alleviate fiscal constraints and enhance forex liquidity, complemented by a $1 billion investment in agro-industrial processes across 28 states to boost productivity and competitiveness.

With AfDB’s support, Nigeria aims to establish special agro-industrial processing zones across eight states, leveraging $520 million in funding to kickstart construction by June this year.

Adesina’s remarks underscore the urgent need for coordinated efforts to revitalize Nigeria’s agricultural sector and stimulate economic recovery amidst growing inflationary pressures and forex challenges.

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