The African Development Bank provided a much-needed lifeline at a time when it was very difficult to secure budget support loans from anywhere else, as the country struggled with the 2015-2016 economic recession, the Nigerian Government has said.

Speaking to a large audience of senior government officials, private sector, and development agencies as he commissioned the Bank’s world-class office complex in Abuja, Nigeria’s Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo said the Bank had faithfully filled its role as a trusted advisor and an honest broker in the region and has earned its place as the voice of Africa on development issues.

He described the building as an important symbol of the special relationship between the Bank and Nigeria – a founding member and the largest shareholder of the Bank since its inception in 1964.

Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, observed that the Bank’s High 5 development priorities, unveiled by African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina when he took office in 2015, is right on track – through investments in infrastructure, agriculture, education, health care, and increased access to affordable energy and water.

“Nigeria has been important in the growth of the institution as a major shareholder, donor and borrower all at the same time. And we have through the years shared the Bank’s vision and objectives. Just to underscore the love between the African Development Bank and Nigeria, we have loaned our own Dr. Akinwumi Adesina to the Bank, as he is to our great pride: Nigeria’s first President of the Bank.”

He noted that the Bank had evolved into one of the most efficient vehicles for Africa’s economic development and integration.

“More importantly, the Bank is to be commended for its ongoing efforts to close the gender gap, empower women and youths, and to ultimately strengthen and expand social safety nets for our most vulnerable populations.”

With its large market of over 185 million people, he assured that Nigeria would continue to be an important player in the Bank’s work, advancing efforts to boost regional integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in particular and Africa as a whole. 

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