The 43-year old Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Africa is considering adopting Nigeria as its regional operational hub, following extensive study of development institutions that applied similar decentralization approach to maximize benefits and avoid draw-backs.
The move is part of a five-year reform package unfolded by the President of the Islamic Development Bank, Bandar Mohammed Hajjar at the opening ceremony of the 42nd meeting of the Bank in Jeddah Tuesday night.
He said that decentralization through opening regional offices would take the Bank closer to member countries to enhance communication, improve its efficiency and performance in its operations.
“We have completed an extensive study of decentralization that included field visits to some development institutions that applied this approach to maximize benefits and avoid draw-backs. Greater powers would be devolved on regional offices to support them with specialized staff and the transfer there of many operations from the main centre,” he said.
The finance ministry said on Wednesday that the development finance institution is already considering a proposal to expand its existing country gateway office in Abuja to serve as a key regional office.
The office was opened by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun earlier in the year, will coordinate the operations of the Bank in its West and Central African member-countries, which constitute a majority of the 27 African countries in the Institution.
The Abuja gateway office will serve Nigeria, Gabon, Niger, Mozambique, Barkina Faso, the Republic of Cameroon, Uganda, Senegal, Djibouti among Guinea Bisaau, among others.
The President of the IsDB explained that the Bank would enhance the development impact of its projects and programmes through comprehensive development solutions that integrate services and products in its member-countries.
Hajjar said that while financing infrastructure projects (energy, water, universities, ports and airports) is part of the new focus of the Bank, the reform would vigorously “seek new partners and transform competitors into development partners by harnessing strength and comparative advantages of the Bank.”
IsDB began operations in 1974 with main objectives to finance development projects in various social and economic fields, reduce poverty and ignorance among the 1.7 billion citizens of the 57 member countries of the institution.
Nigeria is an active member of the Bank and according to finance ministry had benefitted from its development financing programmes located in various parts of the country
Salisu Na’inna Dambatta, Director, Information at the ministry said Governors of the Northern States and the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu visited its headquarters in Jeddah recently where talks were held on areas in which the Bank could intervene in different sectors of social and economic development.
Onyinye Nwachukwu, Abuja