The International Finance Corporation has signed a fresh partnership to modernize and develop Nigeria’s most populous state.
The partnership with Lagos state seeks to enhance the provision of infrastructure in key sectors of the economy.
It also seeks to strengthen the state’s long-term financial sustainability through improved revenue generation strategies, the commissioner for Finance in Lagos, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, said in a statement on Wednesday.
With a population of 24 million, Lagos State is Nigeria’s economic epicenter and main hub for commercial and industrial activities, accounting for more than 30 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Faced with a fast-growing population, the state has been working to improve its infrastructure to enhance economic development, while it aims to become Africa’s third largest economy, measured by GDP, by 2023.
Ashade said a Memorandum of Understanding on the partnership was signed on January 7, and expressed optimism that the development would go a long way in helping to scale up municipal infrastructure, increase revenues and generally make life more comfortable to residents of the state.
Ashade said IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, would seek to provide advisory services to enhance infrastructure development in key areas, including power, education, health, environment and transport, with special focus on provision of electric buses, among others.
“IFC’s advisory services will be designed to improve procurement for key transport projects and support project development in areas including power, transport, municipal waste, health, education and energy efficiency,” Ashake said.
“IFC will also be able to advise on strategies and policies for electric buses and ride-hailing services and assist Lagos state on its revenue mobilization strategies.
“We welcome IFC’s support and are confident that signing this memorandum will translate into viable infrastructure projects, expertise building and better access to financing for the benefit of all Lagosians.”
IFC’s Manager for Nigeria, Eme Essien, said the new partnership is in line with the organization’s program tagged ‘IFC’s Cities Initiative’ aimed at mobilizing commercial financing for priority urban projects, connect cities with capital markets, and to help improve municipalities’ credit-worthiness through financial management training.
He said a total of $13.5 Billion had been invested over the last 15 years across more than 70 countries through the initiative.
Essien said the program essentially supports efforts to build inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities that open new markets, and create opportunities for all.
“Today’s announcement is only a first step in the building of a long term strategic partnership with the largest municipality in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our objective is to support Lagos State’s efforts through IFC’s Cities Initiative to improve living conditions, expand and renew its infrastructure, and help reinforce Lagos’s position as an attractive investment destination — and by extension Nigeria’s position,” Essien said.
Simon is a renowned international journalist, founder and publisher of TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.