BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
The World Bank has lauded the Governor Godwin Obaseki’s blueprint for the development of the state, which leverages on the synthesis of the expertise of the private sector and an open, transparent public sector.
World Bank Country Director for Nigeria and Coordinating Director for West Africa Regional Integration, Rachid Benmessaoud, said this during a meeting between the World Bank Team and officials of the Edo State Government, at the Government House in Benin City.
He said that the World Bank “is impressed with how your government was able to provide the conducive environment for the private sector by operating a transparent, open and accountable government, and understanding what it takes for the private sector to come in by bringing the public element to the private sector.”
Benmessaoud noted, “The Executive Directors of the bank are appreciative of the fact that you brought the public and private angles to address the state’s development challenges. You have established a flagship effort that has resulted in the Azura power plant where you brought all of us together as one World Bank group at the site. We appreciate you and your team. I think you have done a lot in the state. We are very proud to be part of this journey. We hope to see how we can continue the journey together.”
Speaking on the success of Edo-Azura Power project, he said, “After visiting the state, the Executive Directors are studying how we can replicate this success, not only in the next Azura Phase II or III, but what it will take to do five more Azuras in Nigeria and other parts of the world. The question on everyone’s lips now is how can we have more Azuras in West Africa?”
He disclosed that “Other Executive Directors have started looking at East Africa to replicate the Edo model. You have really created a blue- print for the power sector, which clearly shows how governments can play a vital role in encouraging private sector growth.
“This is absolutely in line with what our President, Jim Yong Kim wants us to do. He wants us to focus on two things. One building human capital and second, maximizing finance for development.”
According to the World Bank official, “Human capital entails investing in your own people because that is not the role the development partner can play.”
He assured that “What we will do on human capital is to assist your government address the human capital needs. We will put our resources into it. Both the resources of the world Bank and other development partners will be used to assisting you find solutions to development challenges.”
He emphasized that Nigeria does not need piloting anymore, “what Nigeria needs is scale, we need development scale and solutions that can work in the Nigerian context.”
BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN