The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private-lending arm has disclosed plans to raise its investments in Nigeria by 25 per cent to $2 billion by next year.
The Country Manager, IFC, Mr. Solomon Adegbie-Quaynor, who revealed this, said funds to be raised directly by the IFC or mobilised from other sources would be targeted at industries that offer competitive advantage to the West African nation.
The Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had said in May the country needed to invest $10 billion on infrastructure annually to keep up with its rising population and expanding economy.
“We are partnering the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and also looking at institutions to work with for activities in banks, power, gas, transport and agriculture,” Adegbie-Quaynor told Bloomberg.
Power would also be an important industry for IFC investment “as it is identified as largest constraint to private-sector growth in Nigeria,” he added.
The NSIA manages the country’s sovereign-wealth fund. The Sovereign-Wealth Fund (SWF) set up in October to invest savings made from the difference between budgeted oil prices and actual market prices also plans to fund the country’s infrastructure needs.
The Nigerian economy is forecast by the government to expand by 6.5 per cent this year. Nigeria needs annual economic growth of 13 percent to bring down unemployment, now at about 25 per cent, by 2020, according to the finance ministry.
The IFC signed an agreement with the NSIA last month to cooperate in developing financial plans to fund investments in target areas such as power generation and distribution and gas-to-power projects, through equity participation and selling debt, according to Adegbie-Quaynor.
The IFC is also targeting investments in agriculture, Nigeria’s largest employer, according to Adegbie-Quaynor. The lender is working with the government to identify ways to link producers to markets and boost output, he said.
Source: Thisday Live