By Mark Itsibor
World Bank said it takes Nigeria as a “high priority” in its considerations on how to promote ideas and programmes that can aid development of the African region.
The bank said it was looking forward to ways it can assist the Nigerian economy to grow faster and achieve developmental goals.
World Bank vice president , Mr Hafez Ghanem, said the World Bank’s objective in Africa was to help Africa grow.
“If we talk about growth in Africa, we have to think of Nigeria because it is the largest in Africa. So Africa cannot grow unless Nigeria grows so for us in the World Bank, Nigeria is a very high priority and we want to see how we can support and help the Nigerian economy grow faster and achieve all developmental objectives,” Ghanem said when he led a delegation of the bank to Nigeria’s finance minister, Kemi Adeosun.
He was responding to earlier request by the minister of finance who craved for the bank’s intervention in the nation’s sluggish power sector. Adeosun told the delegation that one area government was hoping to make a lot of progress was the power sector reform program, which she said was an extremely important program for it as far as gross domestic product (GDP) growth was concerned.
“It’s really going to accelerate growth and all the things that we need to do to get the power sector reform programme off the ground. For us, it’s our number one priority at the moment.
How do we sort out the challenges in power sector value chain and leverage on the World Bank, its relationship and its wealth of experience in getting us to move the sector forward,” the minister said.
Adeosun commended the World Bank for a number of their sponsored projects in Nigeria particularly at the sub-national government level with the fiscal transparency and accountability project that the World Bank is helping Nigeria with. “Of course there are projects in education, health and water that the World Bank is doing which we are excited about,” she noted.
Adeosun said a lot of things had changed in the Nigerian economy in the last 10 years, stating that there was hope to accelerate the growth and the interaction with the World Bank.
“How do we do that, and how do we leverage on the technical capacity and global reach and wealth of experience to ensure we not only preserve the growth which is quite slow at the moment but to accelerate the growth so that we don’t have boom and burst circles?” she queried.