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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Nigeria secures $3.45 billion zero-interest loan for Key development initiatives

Federal Executive Council Greenlights Funding for Power, Renewable Energy, State Programs, Girls' Empowerment, and Women's Projects

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The Federal Executive Council of Nigeria has approved a $3.45 billion loan application for crucial projects. The funds will be allocated to projects in the power sector, renewable energy, state resource mobilization programs, adolescent girls’ initiatives for learning and empowerment, and a women’s empowerment project.

The announcement came from the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, who revealed that the loan would be obtained from the World Bank and the International Development Association. The financing, described as concessional and, in some cases, zero-interest, is poised to propel key sectors of Nigeria’s economy forward.

Edun outlined the approved projects, emphasizing their diverse nature. The first two categories focus on the power sector and renewable energy, aiming to strengthen and diversify Nigeria’s energy sources. Additionally, funding for states’ resource mobilization programs will enhance their efforts to generate revenue internally.

The adolescent girls’ initiative for learning and empowerment, a $700 million project, will play a pivotal role in equipping young girls of secondary school age with both academic and marketable skills. This initiative aligns with the broader agenda to reduce the number of out-of-school girls, as outlined by the administration.

Explaining the expansion of the girls’ program, Minister of Education Dr. Tahir Mamman highlighted its reach across 11 states, emphasizing its significance in empowering girls between the ages of 10 and 20. The program aims not only to provide educational support but also to contribute to the overall empowerment of girls and teachers, while also facilitating the establishment of additional schools.

In a forward-thinking move, the Federal Executive Council also approved the establishment of the Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Fund. This fund, spearheaded by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, aims to raise $5 billion annually for emergency responses to humanitarian crises. The funding sources include government contributions, support from development partners, contributions from the private sector, and individual donations.

The decision to establish the fund underscores Nigeria’s commitment to addressing humanitarian challenges and alleviating poverty. Dr. Betta Edu emphasized the multi-stakeholder approach, indicating collaboration between the government, development partners, the private sector, and individuals in raising the necessary funds.

The approval of these strategic financing initiatives reflects the government’s dedication to fostering development across various sectors. With a focus on empowerment, education, and response to humanitarian crises, Nigeria aims to make significant strides in enhancing the well-being of its citizens and the nation’s overall progress.

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