The African Export-Import Bank has expressed readiness to finance several key projects to drive development and investment in Enugu State.

Afreximbank President, Prof. Benedict Oramah, who declared the bank’s commitment during a working visit to the Government House, in Enugu, on Tuesday, explained that the bank’s interest in Enugu stemmed from the vision espoused by Governor Peter Mbah and the work he was doing in the state.

He said that such vision was in line with the bank’s goals and objectives for the rapid development of the African continent, noting that anything good that happens to Nigeria, inextricably happens to Africa.

Describing Mbah’s investment and development drive as impressive, he added, “Whenever we see a leader take such solid and courageous steps, we fall in line because it makes our work much easier.”

Oramah added, “We have been discussing how to support the Enugu State government and its people. Today is the 2nd of January. So, this is the first official assignment I would do in 2024. It is remarkable for me and it speaks a whole lot about our friendship and also the confidence in the work you are doing and the vision you have, not only for this great state, but also for our country, Nigeria.

“We also thank you for the wisdom of visiting us in Cairo and having an extensive discussion on the development priorities of your government. We share in most of those priorities. In fact, I think the strategic thinking you have shown is still out of the book of our own, especially in how we believe that sub-nationals can contribute to the development aspirations of our country, Nigeria, and our continent.

“I know we have identified specific areas, where we intend to quickly advance collaboration. We want to take a look at the hotel and the Conference Centre that is under development to work with you and see how quickly we can complete them.

“We also are very interested in supporting the development of the new terminal at the airport and especially the cargo, and of course, using it as a base to implement and grow an agro-processing zone. The airport will be critical in getting that done.

“We also think that the work that is being done at the hospital is nice. We are working on the African Medical Centre of Excellence. We are building one in Abuja. So, it is in that spirit that we will be looking at that medical centre to see how we can bring it into the circle.

“We are also interested in considering the development of solid minerals in Enugu State. We would follow that very closely to see also how we can play a role.

“There are a number of infrastructural projects, roads that not only connect us, but also all the way to Cameroun. And that is why I think we have agreed that we put in place their preparation facility so that we can begin to develop bankable values for those aspects of interventions that we share as priorities.

“I want to assure you that you can count on us because we believe in the vision you have and we believe that those things that you have identified are things that will shape this state and also our country, Nigeria, and the African continent.

“Nigeria is not only the largest shareholder in Afreximbank, but also the largest economy on the continent. So, everything that happens to Nigeria, happens to Africa. So, for us, anything we can do to make Nigeria great is something that helps us to make Africa great.

“So, it is our hope that by the end of 2024, we can point to some of these projects as completed projects or projects nearing completion for the benefit of Enugu State people, for the benefit of Nigeria, benefit of Africa, and of course, benefit of Afreximbank.”

Governor Peter appreciated the Afreximbank President and his team for prioritising Enugu State in the bank’s plans and development support, reiterating the determination of his administration to grow the state’s economy from $4.4 billion to $30 billion, assuring that the Enugu State government would play its own part to ensure the actualisation of those pinpointed infrastructure to drive investment and grow Enugu State and the nation’s economy.

Mbah also listed the steps taken by his administration to de-risk investment and promote ease of doing business in the state.

He said, “Our aim is to make Enugu State the premier destination for investment. We are determined to make it easy for investors to come in. So, we are highly impressed and very happy about the collaboration with Afreximbank and its affiliates.

“We have truly looked forward to this day because all that is lacking in everything we have said here is the necessary financial support. But with the assurances we are getting from you and with the zeal we both have in realising or accomplishing these projects, I have no doubt in my mind that our partnership will become a model.”