Joseph Inokotong, Abuja
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced its readiness to provide advisory services to Lagos State government to enhance its infrastructure development and strengthen long-term financial sustainability.
The advisory services to be offered by IFC will be designed to improve procurement for key transport projects and support project development in other areas including power, transport, municipal waste, health, education and energy efficiency.
This is even as the IFC will be advising the government on strategies and policies for electric buses and ride-hailing services while assisting it to improve on revenue mobilisation strategies.
Lagos government and the IFC announced details of this agreement Thursday, through a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, while speaking on the initiative said “We welcome IFC’s support and are confident that signing this memorandum will translate into viable infrastructure projects, expertise building and better access to financing for the benefit of all Lagosians”.
For her part, the IFC’s Country Manager for Nigeria, Eme Essien, said, “Today’s announcement is only a first step in the building of a long term strategic partnership with the largest municipality in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Our objective is to support Lagos State’s efforts through IFC’s Cities Initiative to improve living conditions, expand and renew its infrastructure, and help reinforce Lagos’s position as an attractive investment destination, and by extension Nigeria’s position.”
Lagos State has a population of about 20 million, and it is reputed to be Nigeria’s economic epicentre, main hub for commercial and industrial activities, accounting for an estimated 30 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Faced with a fast-growing population, the State has been working to improve its economic and social infrastructure to enhance economic development.
Lagos State aims to become Africa’s third largest economy, measured by GDP, by 2023.
In a statement, the IFC said its Cities Initiative works to mobilise commercial financing for priority urban projects, to connect cities with capital markets, and to help improve municipalities’ credit-worthiness through financial management training.
“The programme supports efforts to build inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities that open new markets, and create opportunities for all.
“Over the last 15 years, IFC’s Cities Initiative has invested $13.5 billion in over 400 city-related projects across more than 70 countries”.
IFC is a member of the World Bank Group; the largest global development finance institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets.
It works with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using its capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world.
In fiscal year 2018, it delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.