Abuja, (IINA) : The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) opened its Nigeria Country Gateway Office in Abuja earlier this week, with a mission to focus its services on health, agriculture, infrastructure, small and medium-scale enterprise, and regional integration, Premium Times reported.
The group said it was also considering the education sector, particularly bilingual education, among its priority service areas in Nigeria as a key tool to counter extremism.
“These are the goals we aspire to achieve as IDB Group and what we stand for,” IDB President Ahmad Ali said in a statement at the opening ceremony.
Reiterating IDB’s mission to strengthen solidarity and economic relationship among member countries, Ali said opening the office in Nigeria was to reinforce the cooperation between it and Nigeria as the largest member in Africa.
The group’s presence in Nigeria, he said, would strengthen socio-economic, technical, and commercial cooperation between the bank and member countries in Africa.
Ali added that this was significant with the completion of the last portion of Trans-Saharan Road linking Algiers in North Africa and Lagos.
“There is an urgent need to develop and implement an action plan for countries along this road, including Nigeria, to benefit from the infrastructure economically, commercially and financially,” he said.
He pledged the bank’s readiness to support Nigeria’s development priorities and ensure its services complemented the ones by other development partners as they relate to the country’s transformation process.
The Nigerian Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, urged the IDB to support Nigeria’s effort to reconstruct the North East part of Nigeria devastated by years of militancy by the insurgent group, Boko Haram.
The minister said development partners should work with Nigeria for the implementation of the recently constituted plan by the Buhari administration to reconstruct the region through various intervention projects relating to peace building, stability, and social cohesion.
Adeosun also called for support to critical productive infrastructure and service delivery; provision of capacity building and program management support in national, states and local government institutions. Describing the opening of the office as an important milestone in the bank’s relationship with Nigeria, Adeosun said it would not only strengthen cooperation, it would help bring the bank closer to the people and enable it appreciate the challenges ordinary Nigerians face.