During the SAPZ Phase II Inception Workshop in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubarka Kyari, reaffirmed the Federal Government’s dedication to fast-track the implementation of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) project in Nigeria.
“The President Bola Tinubu’s administration is determined to give unprecedented attention to agriculture and food security.
“We are determined to fast track Phase I and Phase II of this project to unlock the opportunities for food security and job security and increase the contribution of the sector to the GDP.
“SAPZ has come to stay. All hands must therefore be on deck to ensure a successful implementation of the programme in Nigeria,” Kyari said.
The minister also highlighted that the aim of the project is to enhance the country’s economy by transforming agriculture into a lucrative economic venture.
He emphasised that this initiative would create a mutually beneficial situation for investors, the government, and the citizens, and he also welcomed further collaboration from investors.
Furthermore, the minister assured the public of the government’s dedication to partnering with the states and private sector to gather resources for the successful execution of the project.
Prior to this, the Director-General of the Nigeria Country Department of the AfDB, Lamin Barrow, explained that the SAPZ aims to foster the growth of value chains for strategic commodities in Nigeria and throughout Africa.
“They will provide world class infrastructure to support food agribusinesses to locate close to zones of production, develop competitive value chains supported by logistic systems that will drive food processing and value addition.
“The SAPZs will help create massive wealth and jobs in rural areas and turn rural areas away from being zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity,” he said.
Lamin has revealed that the African Development Bank (AfDB) is actively working on the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) in 11 African countries. Among these countries, one SAPZ is being developed in each of the following countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Madagascar, Senegal, and Togo. Furthermore, four SAPZs are being implemented in Ethiopia.
Lamin also emphasised that the SAPZ program in Nigeria is the largest in terms of both scale and scope. Currently, Phase 1 of the program is being implemented over a span of five years in seven states. These states include Cross River, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Ogun, and Oyo. The selection of these states was based on their readiness and to ensure a balanced representation across Nigeria’s six geo-political zones.
Additionally, Lamin noted that there is growing interest and enthusiasm from both the Nigerian government and private sector players for Phase II of the SAPZ Program.
“So far, the Bank has received Expressions of Interest (EOI) from no fewer than 23 States across the six geo-political zones in the country.” The States are: Lagos, Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Delta, Gombe, Ondo, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Enugu, Osun, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, and Borno.
“It is expected that at the end of the 2-Day discussion, the participating states will be screened and onboarded based on readiness and quality of entry criteria, which will be deliberated upon during the workshop, ” he added.
Government representatives from Gombe, Katsina, Ekiti, and Kebbi states enthusiastically expressed their readiness and dedication to the project, affirming their openness to investors in their respective states.
The program witnessed the presence of government officials, state government representatives, various ministries, departments, agencies, partners, stakeholders, and other attendees.