The Ekiti State government says the African Development Bank has expressed its readiness to provide technical and financial support to the state to upgrade its infrastructure, including fixing the Ado Ekiti-Akure Road, which is currently in a deplorable state.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Yinka Oyebode, on Monday, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent.
According to the statement, other projects the AfDB is willing to support are the Ekiti Airport, the Ekiti Knowledge zone (a smart city to promote knowledge economy) and the agriculture processing zone project.
It stated that all the projects were geared towards improving infrastructure and socio– economic development of the state.
The statement further read, “These are some of the highlights of a high-level meeting between the Ekiti State government team led by the Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and the AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, at the organisation’s headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire at the weekend.
“The AfDB team reviewed the project proposals tabled by Governor Fayemi and resolved to provide the necessary support to the government to actualise them, in line with the bank’s mission of supporting national and sub-national governments’ development plans.
“As a follow up to the meeting, a team of technical experts from AfDB headquarters would be in Ekiti State in the next few weeks for further discussion and assessment of the various projects. The visit and other activities that would follow would prepare the ground for the bank’s final decision.”
Speaking at the meeting, Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, said his administration decided to seek AfDB’s support for the projects that “are crucial to the infrastructure and industrial development of Ekiti State so as to improve the fortune of the state, reposition it as a destination of choice for investment and create jobs.”
Specifically, he said the state needed to upgrade its infrastructure and invest in the agric business, which would, in turn, provide jobs for its teeming population of youths, which he put at 75 per cent of the state’s total population. He added that setting up a smart city to promote the knowledge economy was also crucial to the administration.
He said, “These are our local priorities. If you can support us, it will enable us to do some other things through our own limited resources.
“We have aligned our priorities to the AfDB’s priorities which apply to us, such as lighting up Africa; Feeding Africa; Industrialise Africa etc. All these apply to us as 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 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 AfDB President, Dr Adesina, said the bank was excited about the plans for job creation, especially for the youth and the plans to improve the stock of infrastructure. He said the menace of kidnapping and banditry in the country would be arrested with more investments and job opportunities for the youth.