By; FUNMI ADERINTO, Kaduna
Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe joined the governors of the North West zone at a meeting with the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire as part of a regional effort to seek AfDB’s intervention in agriculture and power.
The governors, who met with the team from the African Development Bank led by the President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, presented a regional approach developed by the seven states to position the region to better utilize the opportunities offered by the Bank’s Agro-Industrial Processing Zones Programme.
In her presentation at the meeting, Dr. Hadiza assured the AfDB’s president of Kaduna State’s commitment to the collective vision of the northwest region, stating that the participation of Kaduna State in the discussions underscores the critical importance the administration of Governor Uba Sani places on fostering collaborations and partnerships for the advancement of the different sectors of the economy, especially the agricultural and power sectors, which she describes as “foundational pillars of our regional growth and development”.
Dr Balarabe stated that agriculture remains the fulcrum of Governor Uba Sani’s development agenda. “We are endowed with vast arable land and resources. With support from the African Development Bank, we aim to modernize agricultural practices, enhance value addition to our produce, and empower our farmers with the knowledge and tools needed for higher productivity. We are also concerned with the rural infrastructure that our farmers need to enhance their profitability.
“The criticality of the power sector to our vision cannot be downplayed, It is an indispensable enabler of economic growth and industrialization. We cannot put aside the fact that an adequate and reliable power supply is fundamental to attracting investments and fostering entrepreneurship while enabling and ensuring the success of our industries. It is in recognition of the transformative potential of a robust power infrastructure, that we seek and need credible partnerships to strengthen our energy capabilities and promote renewable sources, while also addressing challenges that have hindered our progress thus far.
The deputy governor further called for AfDB’s intervention in Kaduna State under the National Transmission Expansion Project to energize a 2 by 60MVA transmission substation for the Green Economic Zone, pointing out that Kaduna State has already conducted pre-feasibility studies for energizing 5000 off-grid communities. “We have done deep dives and investor pitch for 2 clusters of 42 communities and what remains is for them to be powered now”, Dr Balarabe said.
She added that “ Kaduna State Government welcomes the intervention of the AfDB in the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones program even as she disclosed that Kaduna is ready to move on with this project with the support of the AfDB to site a 2nd SAAIZ project in a different Zone of the State because of the peculiarities inherent in the State.
She expressed optimism that the Special Agro-allied industrial zone will assist the state in overcoming major challenges just as it will serve to propel Kaduna towards achieving food self-sufficiency, job and wealth creation, and subsequently boost economic growth, especially the rural economy.
She noted that a coordinated regional approach to problem-solving is paramount, working together to seek the support of the African Development Bank in developing an integrated strategy for agriculture, power and even security, is not just desirable but necessary for the comprehensive and sustainable development of the region.
The delegation from Kaduna comprised the Commissioner of Agriculture Murtala Dabo, MD of Kaduna Power Supply Company (KAPSCO) Dolapo Popoola and Private Secretary to the Deputy Governor Hafsat Aminu Ashiru.