The World Bank has sunk a princely $11bn into Nigeria’s economy and development since its engagement with the country over the years.
Country Director, Rachid Benmessaoud, who disclosed this Thursday, in Abuja at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Portfolio Performance Award organised in partnership with the Ministry of Finance, said the bank’s investment was targeted at poverty alleviation projects and programmes that improved the living standards of the people.
The award was to recognise and honour outstanding performance from project implementation units of World Bank supported projects at states and federal levels.
Benmessaoud said 60 per cent of the bank’s programmes were implemented at the state level and another 40 per cent by the federal government adding the bank’s portfolio in Nigeria with over 30 operational projects was among the largest in the entire African region.
He said the projects were spread across health, education, agriculture, social protection, energy, infrastructure, and governance among others in the 36 states of Nigeria, including the FCT.
He also said the bank was working toward a new country partnership framework that would outline the new reform challenges that the government faces and how it could support it in implementing solutions to the challenges.
“The country partnership strategy is always anchored on the economic reform plan of the government and in this case, we have used the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“Which is the medium term programme of the government on which we are anchoring our country partnership framework.
“We have plans to scale up our commitment but you know the scale up is not only about funding.
“One can say it is really important to realise that even if we scale up, it will not be sufficient to address the large gap that is needed to be filled.
“We feel that the world bank can play a catalytic role in creating a conducive environment for private sector to finance infrastructure so that we can create the fiscal space for the government to put more money in human capital and in social spending.’’
Speaking about the awards, The country director explained that the awards were introduced to recognise the various entities that were involved in implementing the bank’s programmes in terms of their performance.
“We have a number of criteria with which we have evaluated these entities and we felt that bringing all of these entities together into an award ceremony would help us to recognise all of the good works that all of them are doing and recognise those that have done something special that others can replicate.
“There is a lot of learning that we are emphasising in our engagements, states have to learn from each other and that is what we would like to create, the space where the states can learn from each other’’, he said .