The interplay of a positive disposition of the Edo State government to reforms and best practice, her willingness to open her financial books to domestic and international partners for developmental projects that will impact on the largest number of people, and a growing culture of transparency across sectors of the state, explain investors’ attraction to the state, the World Bank Vice President, Africa, Hafez Ghanem has hinted.
At a Dinner reception in Abuja, the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, said his administration is committed to deepening relations with development partners, portfolio investors and long-term investors for the overall transformation of the state.
He explained that business support structures such as robust infrastructure, digitalisation of government’s processes and procedures and trained manpower have received the desired attention of his administration, as part of effort to usher the state into an era of economic prosperity and new ways of doing things.
The World Bank Vice President’s positive sentiment re-echoes the institution’s Governance Global Practice, which encourages countries and states “to build strong institutions and prosper by creating an environment that facilitates private sector growth, reduces poverty, delivers valuable services and earns the confidence of their citizens – a relationship of trust that is created when people can participate in government decision-making and know their voices are heard.”
Recall that during the visit of the World Bank Senior Director, Governance Global Practice, Debbie Wetzel, to Edo State recently, she told Governor Obaseki of their readiness to partner with the state on governance structures.
Wetzel who was accompanied on the visit by Practice Manager, Hisham Waly; Lead Project Specialist, Chief Bayo Awosemusi; Senior Public Sector Specialist, Ikechukwu Nweje; Senior Operations Officer, John Paul Ngebeh; and Procurement Specialist, Sunday Osoba, said: “We are hoping to work with the state to support her in improving governance structures. We want to see how the World Bank can support the state to get better results. We will be looking at deepening the state’s transparency, economic recovery; revenue collection and creating an enabling environment where private sector can thrive better.”
According to Obaseki, “our established standard that is founded on strict adherence to rules and terms guiding the execution of development projects and respect for the sanctity of contracts, have continued to earn us accolades and more support from domestic and international partners.”
The governor shared sector-specific experience with the team of senior World Bank officials, including the Country Director of the institution, Rachid Benmessaoud and members of the Nigerian team.
Hafez Ghanem was appointed the Vice President of the World Bank for Africa on July 1, 2018. “A development expert with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Ghanem leads an active regional portfolio consisting of over 600 projects totaling more than $71 billion.
“Under his leadership, the World Bank supports inclusive growth and poverty reduction by financing projects that boost human capital, support private sector development, raise agricultural productivity, improve access to infrastructure, build resilience to climate change, and promote regional integration. Intensifying assistance for fragile and conflict-affected states, promoting gender equality, and providing economic opportunities for youth are core to his vision for the Africa Region.
“Prior to his appointment as Vice President for Africa, Dr. Ghanem served as Vice President of the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa from 2015 to 2018, overseeing the World Bank’s engagement with 20 countries. Leading up to this, he was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in the Global Economy and Development program leading the Arab economies project, focused on the impact of political transition on Arab economic development,” the World Bank said.