20 July 2022

UKNIAF, AfDB update and collaboration meeting

“There is a lot of alignment and convergence in our work in infrastructure, which is a core pillar in the Bank’s strategy in Nigeria. This meeting will be useful in helping us identify opportunities to zero in on.” – Lamin Barrow, Director General, African Development Bank Group

The Backdrop

UKNIAF and AfDB met on July 6, 2022 to review the progress of collaborative activities agreed on at the 2020 deep-dive, and to explore broader collaborative opportunities.

The meeting reported on collaborative progress and explored further areas of engagement. Prof. Onyia, the UKNIAF Managing Director opened the meeting with the observation that, “The AfDB Infrastructure Finance team and other AfDB team members have been really responsive and have been a pleasure to work with.”

The AfDB Director General, Lamin Barrow, similarly noted, that the AfDB team was looking forward to stepping up the collaboration. “There is a lot of alignment and convergence in our work in infrastructure, which is a core pillar in the Bank’s strategy in Nigeria. This meeting will be useful in helping us identify opportunities to zero in on.”

Updates from UKNIAF

UKNIAF’s Infrastructure Finance (IF) and Power components presented updates on their respective interventions and touched upon areas of common interest between the AfDB and UKNIAF. Gori Olusina Daniel, UKNIAF IF Component Lead cited as key interventions, institutional and human capacity development, transaction support for the preparation of projects and project finance enhancement support. The focus he noted is on building a credible pipeline of climate smart projects and get more private sector participation. Frank Edozie, Power Component Lead for UKNIAF shed light on some of the challenges and the solutions offered. “We set out to find a way of making changes to the way decisions are made in the sector such that they are lined up to resolve these constraints,” he said.

Potential areas of collaboration

Each presentation referred to the past and current UKNIAF-AFDB collaborations and concluded with the “potential areas of collaboration” segment. Gori listed the Special Agro-Industrial processing zones (SAPZ) programme (which IF is working on currently in Oyo and Kaduna states) and Climate Finance database among a few others as potential areas to work together on. Frank had on his list, Solar IPPs, Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and an earlier piece of work on prioritising interfaces between TCN’s transmission and distribution for AfDB.

The AfDB response

In response to the potential areas of collaboration the AfDB team updated that they were on track on the ongoing work on TCN interfaces and touched upon the impending interventions on IRP and Solar IPPs. AfDB’s Anthony Simpasa pointed out, ”Specifically in IRP, we had engaged with UKNIAF on private sector involvement in Infrastructure financing and received very valuable inputs on the opportunities and also constraints that hinder private sector engaging more in different aspects of infrastructure financing in Nigeria. The study is nearly done will be ready for launch in the next couple of weeks when we will be able to engage UKNIAF again on some of the issues emerging.” Other AfDB team members too contributed to collaborations in other areas.

Next steps

It has been established that the Bank and UKNIAF had quite a few common areas of interest. The broad overarching objectives of sustainable development and poverty reduction define each one’s work. Right from the beginning of the discussions a mutual agreement prevailed and each point added showed the enthusiasm to work together.

There was unanimous approval for granular meetings between counterparts to discuss next steps. To discuss areas of collaboration for power, it was agreed to have a focused meeting between UKNIAF and the corresponding AfDB team. With IF, round table dialogues were suggested to further discuss the interventions of common interest. In conclusion, the two teams agreed on quarterly high-level engagements to track progress on collaborative projects.

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