The World Bank has approved the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) for Akwa Ibom, among the six development projects endorsed for effectiveness in all participating states across the country.
This was contained in a press release by the Bank’s Country Director, Mr. Shubham Chauduri, noting that the approval had just been granted, Tuesday in Washington DC, during the Bank Board meeting to consider the endorsement for effectiveness of her projects in the World Nigeria. The projects are aimed at supporting the country’s efforts to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty as well as providing an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive, promote job creation and build human capacities on governance, social and environmental safeguards.
It could be recalled that the State Government, under the leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel had expressed interest and secured the enlistment of Akwa Ibom among the 13 states currently participating in RAAMP and proceeded to pay the state counterpart funds as part of the requirements by the Bank before approval.
According to the release, RAAMP will upgrade about 1,600 kilometres of rural roads, improve 65 agro-logistics centres as well as enhance connectivity and access to local markets and agribusiness services in 13 states across the country. These interventions are expected to increase the proportion of persons living within two kilometers of an all-season road by 10 percent, to be jointly funded by the World Bank, French Development Agency and the Government of Nigeria.
Other projects approved by the World Bank include Immunization Plus & Malaria Progress by Accelerating Coverage and Transforming Services (IMPACT), which seeks to strengthen healthcare delivery system in the country and The Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project to increase the number of persons who have the National Identification Number (NIN) to reach about 150 million in the next couple of years.
Innovation Development and Effectiveness in the Acquisition of Skills Project will among other things, strengthen 50,000 Nigerian students and enhance the capacity of technical teachers to better equip them for jobs in the formal and informal sectors, while The Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standards Enhancement Project (SPESSE) will strengthen the skills and capacities of over 21,000 persons and ensure that accredited degree programs in the country are certified by the global Good International Industry Practice (GIIP) in their respective areas of discipline.
World Bank also granted approval for the Ogun State Economic Transformation Project to catalyse private investments in the state.
The International Development Association (IDA) was established by the World Bank in 1960 and has helped poor countries, mostly in Africa by providing grants and little or no interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty and improve poor peoples’ lives. It has supported development in 113 countries over the years, since its establishment, with an average commitment of about 21 billion dollars annually within the last three years.
In his reaction, the State Project Coordinator of RAAMP, Elder Gideon Cephas Akpan expressed appreciation to the Wolrd Bank for the approval, describing the process as long, painstaking and very demanding.
He explained that following the Bank’s approval, work on the 500 kilometres of roads and six agro-logistic market hubs already prioritized under the project across the State were guaranteed to commence soon, adding that the multiplier effects of reduction in travel time along the roads that would be intervened; creation of jobs and wealth; ease in the movement of farm produce from the farm to markets as well as other goods and services cannot he quantified.
Elder Gideon Akpan applauded the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel for his foresight in keying into the project and keeping faith with it throughout the tedious and protracted course before the Bank’s approval, without which these benefits would have eluded the state. He therefore sued for concerted support from all and sundry to ensure the success of the project across the state.
The Coordinator also thanked the Ministry of Agriculture and Women Affairs – which the project is domiciled and the Chairman of the State Project Monitoring Committee, SPMC, Prof. Edet Udoh and members of the committee for their respective roles towards securing the approval and pledged that the State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU), under his leadership will live up to the confidence reposed in them to help develop the state.