The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said that with the success of the visit of 10 Executive Directors of the World Bank to the state, his administration anticipates stronger and extensive partnership with the bank on development funding to accelerate growth in the state.
Obaseki disclosed that, “the visit was a huge success. The World Bank Executive Directors saw the results of their partnership with Edo State across the broad spectrum of our partnership.
“They took their time to appraise what they met on ground and it is safe to say that our relationship, which is anchored on development, has been further strengthened and more support is on the way.”
The governor who hosted his guests to launch after a tour of the Edo-Azura 450 Power project, took the World Bank Executive Directors through the various social development and agricultural projects, including the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP); Community and Social Development Programme (CSDP), FDAMA among others.
He noted that “Edo State’s commitment to best practice in projects that have rekindled economic growth, empowering youths and women; reforms in the public sector and massive investment in infrastructure have earned her a place of pride in the bank’s relationship with development partners.”
Obaseki said with the Edo-Azura power plant coming on stream, “we need to extend the benefits of this investment. Now that we have power, what are going to do with it. Power is the key to industrialisation and development. The next set of projects are those that have to rely on this key infrastructure we have created.”
He added that “we will be looking at the Benin Industrial Park, building infrastructure to encourage and support manufacturers to come in. We are looking at innovation hubs; we want to use the factor an advantage of the 24/7 electricity to encourage technology groups and companies to be located in Edo State.”
The Executive Director, Angola, Nigeria and South Africa sub-group, World Bank, Ms. Bongi Kunene, said that the institution was open to partnerships as long as they were in line with its focus.
She also described the Azura-Edo power plant as a transformational project, which had the capacity to provide solutions.
“The project is transformational. It gives us a scope of what we can do together. We are delighted to see solutions. We will want to commit ourselves to projects that make sense and are in line with our focus,” she said.