Priscilla Ofunre, Ado-Ekiti
Team of technical experts from African Development Bank (AfDB) on Thursday met with Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi and his team in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, to further strengthen ongoing talks between the Bank and the state government on support for the upgrade of its infrastructure.
The meeting which took place at the Governor’s office in Ado-Ekiti, was a follow up to an earlier one held last month at the AfDB’s headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Some of the key areas the Bank is considering technical and financial support for Ekiti State Government include: the knowledge zone, agriculture development, transportation, infrastructure and governance initiatives, SMEs and job creation.
Projects aimed at include: Ado-Ekiti -Akure road, Agro-allied cargo airport, the Ekiti Knowledge Zone (a smart city to promote a knowledge economy), Agriculture Processing Zone, Power Project and job creation.
AfDB’s Senior Director for Nigeria, Ebrima Faal, who led the Bank’s team to the meeting said it was important for the state to do something about its infrastructure deficit, adding that the state had taken the right step by seeking partnership with the Bank.
Faal, who said the AfDB had a good working relationship with Governor Fayemi during his first term in office and when he served as Minister of Mines and Steel Development, described the Governor as a development-focused leader.
He restated the earlier position of AfDB’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, that the development bank would partner with the state in its desire to upgrade its infrastructure.
“We have been working with Dr Kayode Fayemi right from his first tenure and when he served as Minister of Mines and Steel Development. There is no doubt that he is a development-focused leader. We will support Ekiti State as the President of AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, had earlier assured.”, Faal added.
In his remarks, Governor Fayemi said the state needed to upgrade its infrastructure and invest in agric business, which will in turn provide jobs for its teeming population of youths, which he put at 75 percent of the state’s total population.
He added that setting up a smart city to promote knowledge economy is also crucial to the administration.
“We have aligned our priorities to the AfDB’s priorities and our plan is to make Ekiti a destination of choice for her citizens and all those who will like to live, work and invest in the state.
“To achieve this, we need to invest heavily in infrastructure. We want to fix the roads, have our small Agro-allied cargo airport that will aid agriculture and open our landlocked state to domestic and international markets and ultimately create jobs that our state urgently needs for its vibrant and educated youth population”, the Governor added.
The AfDB team which comprised Mr Tom Robert Muhoya, Principal Water Expert; Mr Patrick Musa, Transport Expert; Mr Emmanuel Akinwunmi, Private Sector Expert; Mrs Bola Olaoye , Principal Education Expert and Mr Zock Annong Aahmed, Security Expert; later had strategic sessions with Ekiti state officials.