The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced on Monday that it has signed agreements for a $40 Million corporate loan to enable it finance the expansion of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) in Ado Ekiti, Nigeria.

The expansion plan consists of construction of new facilities – including a 400 bed teaching hospital, an industrial research park, a post-graduate school, student hostels, a central library, and a small scale hydro power installation. The 8-year loan includes a 3-year grace period.

The signing ceremony was held in the AfDB premises in Abuja with representatives of ABUAD University and other lending partners (WEMA Bank, Sterling Bank, UBA, Union Bank and legal partners Templars) in attendance, according to an AfDB statement.

The Vice Chancellor of the University, Michael Ajisafe explained that the expansion will improve access to high quality education to over 10,000 students, create 250 new staff positions as well as about 1000 temporary jobs across the construction, supplies and consulting in the value chain.

In addition, full/partial scholarships and other forms of substantial financial aid will be provided to over 500 student beneficiaries during the loan period.

“With emphasis on life skills, leadership skills and entrepreneurial skills, the University will generate over 12,000 high quality and employable graduates by the end of the loan life, in addition to over 2,400 trained farmers who will benefit from the University’s farmers training and entrepreneurial programs,” the AfDB said in the statement.

“The industrial research park is expected to galvanize the interest of industrialists and investors to establish SME industries in the Ekiti State, and is expected to improve the State revenues by over NGN 50 million annually.”

In his closing remarks, the AfDB Nigeria Senior Director, Ebrima Faal commended the design of the project which he said thoroughly fits into the Bank’s High5 priorities by contributing to improve the quality of life for the people of Africa through high-quality tertiary education, job creation and health service provision (university and teaching hospital); fostering industrialization through its industrial research park, powering Africa through its off-grid renewable Small Hydro Power (SHP) scheme and feeding Africa through its support to local farming businesses.

Faal also highlighted the alignment of the project with two core focus areas of the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy, namely skills & technology and private sector development.

Modupe Babalola, the University’s Bursar assured AfDB and other lenders of the University’s commitment that the project funds will be administered in honesty, transparency and with full accountability.

And according to him, these were amongst the core values of the University.

ONYINYE NWACHUKWU, ABUJA

Culled from Business Day

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