World Bank has $8.5b investment portfolio across Nigeria, says President Jim Yong Kim

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•Lists intervention efforts in Northeast

The World Bank said yesterday that its entire portfolio across Nigeria currently stands at about $8.5 billion.

The global financial institution was shedding light on its rehabilitation efforts in the Northeast apparently in reaction to the controversy sparked by a statement by its President Jim Yong Kim that President Muhammadu Buhari requested its special intervention in the zone.

The projects are located in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, it said.

It listed its intervention efforts in the Northeast as including a $775 million International Development Association (IDA) credit for “restoring basic education and health services, agricultural production, and livelihood improvement opportunities through community support development and youth employment.”

The IDA is an arm of the WB that helps the world’s poorest countries.

Overseen by 173 shareholder nations, IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions.

The WB, in a statement on its website, said it had to first carry out a Recovery and Peace Building Assessment (RPBA) to enable it “assess the needs of the nearly 15 million people in this region impacted by the crisis.”

The assessment, it said was conducted in partnership with the United Nations, and the European Union.

It said it was “working with federal, state and development partners on speeding delivery of critical interventions to the people of the North East who urgently need assistance.”

But it explained that its assistance to Nigeria was not limited to the Northeast as it “continues to be fully committed to helping the Federal Government of Nigeria, the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) reduce poverty and foster prosperity for all Nigerians.”

It put its entire portfolio in Nigeria at “about $8.5 billion spread across the country.”

It said: “Under IDA 18, the World Bank Group is doubling its resources to address fragility, conflict and violence at the subnational and national levels and help stabilize places that are affected by high poverty and influx of people.”

Jim had told reporters in Washington DC on Thursday that the bank was concentrating on the north in line with Buhari’s request.

“You know, in my very first meeting with President Buhari he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern region of Nigeria and we’ve done that. Now, it has been very difficult. The work there has been very difficult,” he was quoted as saying.

The statement immediately sparked a controversy in the country, prompting a denial from the Presidency.

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina said the issue was twisted by those who specialize in such act.

He said what Buhari asked of the World Bank was assistance for the Northeast which has been ravaged by years of insurgency by Boko Haram.

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