The Association of Nigerian Development Finance Institutions (ANDFI) has urged increased collaboration among Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to address the economic challenges facing the country.
The Chairman, NDFI, and Managing Director, of the Bank of Industry (BOI), Olukayode Pitan, made the call at the opening of the Association’s second annual general assembly.
The event, which was attended by representatives of all the DFIs in Nigeria, was themed: “Innovative Financing for Sustainable Growth and Development.”
Pitan insisted that it has become compelling for DFIs to increase their level of intervention in Nigeria, home to an estimated 200 million people.
He said there had been a marked economic improvement through the years from various intervention programmes and infrastructure investments.
Pitan noted that the World Bank in its projection this year said Nigeria would be home to 95.1 million poor people, a development he said would require more efforts in the area of poverty alleviation, infrastructure and human capital development, agriculture, and industry among others.
He said: “The actions of all of us at this event shall have a significant input to determine whether the growth of Nigeria’s population will promote prosperity and improve the livelihood of the Nigerian people or become a source of fragility, social tension, and increased economic hardships.
“Nigerian DFIs have the potential to address these issues working in synergy with the organised private sector as well as the three tiers of government.
“Collectively, we can deliver the level of sustainable social and economic development that we desire. Nigeria presents a unique context for the developmental mandate of DFIs.
“Indeed, we are charged with enabling various sectors and segments of the economy such as agriculture, industry, infrastructure, export and import, and mortgage.”
Collectively, we can deliver the level of sustainable social and economic development that we desire. Nigeria presents a unique context for the developmental mandate of DFIs.
Giving an update on the ANDFI Secretariat, Pitan said a new and furnished workspace had been established at BOI, Abuja Corporate Office, with staff already recruited to ensure efficient service delivery.
He also thanked members of ANDFI for the achievements so far recorded and urged them to live up to their obligations with regards to the timely payment of their annual fees and other committed efforts.
“It is only when we work together in synergy, with a unified sense of purpose and commitment that we can deliver on our objectives,” he said, adding this would help achieve sustainable development across various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The ANDFI chairman also charged members to speak with one voice to influence government policies and matters of common interest; encourage mutual assistance and investment cooperation among members.
He stressed the need to invest in training and development of members so as to carry out studies on issues of national economic growth with a view to promoting development in our nation.
“Promote cooperation and exchange of technical expertise among member DFIs and with similar organisations in Africa and beyond,” he urged members.
Also Speaking, the Managing Director, Uganda Development Bank Limited, Mrs Patricia Ojangole, said the agriculture sector accounts for 70% of the employment in Africa.
Despite this, she said the continent has yet to take advantage of the huge opportunities in agriculture, which remains the strongest source of economic growth in Uganda and Africa at large.
This is because it has the potential to create employment, and improve livelihood and social development, but its impact in terms of economic development had not been felt in the continent.
She said: “If you check East Asia and the Pacific, the trend is growing which shows there’s development in the economic sector, Western Europe is more developed where growth in services is visible.
“Before now, labour usually moves from agriculture to manufacturing and to industries. But it’s not the case today. So, it will appear that the hope for sustainable job creation is maybe the servicing sector and not the industries.”
To achieve the development goals across Africa, she called for more funding for key projects by DFIs, adding that “When money is mobilised and rightly used, it will give room for more employment and development. (NAN)