The Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs), a strategic initiative of the AfDB, has the capacity to structurally transform Nigeria’s economy by promoting effective agro-industrialisation
This was the central message from the Senior Special Adviser on Industrialisation to the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Professor Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, in a meeting attended by Nigeria’s south west governors and top private sector officials at the Executive Council Chambers of the governor’s office, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The SAPZ is a project designed by AfDB to concentrate agro-processing activities within areas of high agricultural potentials in order to increase productivity and competitiveness across Africa.
Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, in his presentation titled: “A Roadmap for the Development of SAPZs in Nigeria,” emphasised that Nigeria’s agro-industry and its manufacturing sectors must be triggered in order to stimulate economic advancement in the country.
Nigeria’s agro-industrial output, he added, is germane to the growth rate of the country’s GDP.
The project, he pointed out, will provide millions of youth and rural men and women with employment and entrepreneurship opportunities through the creation of sustainable agribusinesses.
Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, who is a Global Expert on Industrialization and Technological Change, further explained that SAPZs would prioritize key agricultural value chains by providing platforms for Nigeria’s agro commodities to thrive, thereby reviving past valuable agro-industrial assets some of which have fallen into disuse.
The SAPZ, he said, would also help to boost value addition, reduce food import, process raw agricultural raw materials turning them into high-value items for export.
The Don emphasized that the SAPZs project will revive promising brownfields across the country in its bid to promote inclusivity and spread impact into surrounding states. He also added that it would maximise positive engagement with youths and women to ensure the creation of sustainable agribusinesses.
These benefits, Oyelaran-Oyeyinka pointed out, would help Nigeria achieve the overall target of the SAPZs project by enhancing national food and nutritional security.
According to him, it would also help to reduce rural-urban migration as well as improve the quality of livelihoods through the creation of wealth among rural farming communities.
Oyelaran-Oyeyinka also restating the commitment of the AfDB towards securing the partnership of key agribusiness companies and banks in the planning, investment and implementation of the SAPZs project in Nigeria, and urged the governors to key into the strategy of the AfDB in order to fast-track the economic diversification drive of the current administration.
Present at the meeting were the governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde; Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu; Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, and the Deputy Governor of Osun state, Gboyega Alabi. Commissioners Of Agriculture and Special Advisers were also present.
Also present were the DG of DAWN Commission, the Managing Director of Odua Investment Company Ltd, and other top government officials from within the South-West.