The Islamic Development Bank is planning to make Nigeria its regional operational hub in Africa.
The move is part of efforts aimed at improving its efficiency and performance in its operations, as well as financing key projects on the continent.
The President, IDB, Dr. Bandar Hajjar, disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the 42nd meeting of the bank.
The Nigerian delegation to the meeting was led by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse.
Hajjar said the move to make Nigeria a regional hub was part of a five-year reform package, which would see the bank decentralise its operations.
He stated that while financing infrastructure projects such as energy, water, universities, ports and airports was part of the new focus of the bank, the reform would vigorously “seek new partners and transform competitors into development partners.”
A statement from the Director of Information in the Ministry of Finance, Salisu Dambatta quoted Hajjar to have said, “We have completed an extensive study of decentralisation that included field visits to some development institutions that applied this approach to maximise benefits and avoid drawbacks.
“Greater powers will be devolved on regional offices to support them with specialised staff and the transfer there many operations from the main centre.
“The bank will enhance the development impact of its projects and programmes through comprehensive development solutions that integrate services and products in its member-countries.”
The Nigeria office, which was opened by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, earlier in the year, will coordinate the operations of the bank’s West and Central African member-countries, which constitute a majority of the 27 African countries in the institution.
The office will serve Nigeria, Gabon, Niger, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Republic of Cameroon, Uganda, Senegal, Djibouti and Guinea Bissau, among others.
Nigeria is an active member of the bank and has benefitted from its development financing programmes.
Recently, the governors of the northern states and the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, visited its headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where they discussed areas in which the IDB could intervene in different sectors of social and economic development.