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AfDB boss tasks Buhari on $1.8tr pension, sovereign wealth assets


President Muhammadu Buhari (right) receiving President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, in the State House, Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwunmi Adesina, yesterday urged African leaders to invest the over $1.8 trillion pension and sovereign wealth assets to bridge infrastructure in the continent.

He stated this when he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Adesina’s call followed the Federal Government’s decision to invest about N2 trillion pension fund assets for the development of roads, power and other critical infrastructure.

Nigeria’s pension fund has grown to about N9.44 trillion, according to the pension monthly summary report for August released on October 15, 2019.

Specifically, the 36 state governors of the federation, under the auspices of the National Economic Council (NEC), are considering the investment of N2 trillion contributory pension funds in the development of infrastructure including roads, rail and power.

Adesina told State House Correspondents after the meeting that the $1.8 trillion pension and sovereign wealth assets held by African countries could conveniently cover the $66-$108 billion infrastructure deficit.

He urged African leaders to explore the option, saying it was better than investing the funds abroad. He said the AfDB was also exploring the use of the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) to shore up revenue to build investments on the continent.

He explained that the AIF in 2019 generated over $40 billion and noted that the rate of return on investments in Africa remains the highest in the world.

While lending his support to the adoption of the Eco as the unit of currency for the West Africa sub-region, the AfDB helmsman said the continental financial institution would continue to help in tackling insecurity in the sub-region, especially around the Lake Chad region.

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