From Adewale Sanyaolu, New York

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwunmi Adesina, has raised concern over Nigeria’s debt burden.

Adesina stated this yesterday at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) 77.

This was even as he called on the international community to help Nigeria tackle its debt burden.

Adesina added that financing was critical to solving the country’s development challenges.

The AfDB president said: “Financing is critical because the debt to GDP ratio of Africa has increased to 70 percent — several countries are the risk of high debt distress due to unstable, unsustainable debt levels,” he said.

“Nigeria’s total debt level is N42.84 trillion or $103 billion. External debt levels stand at N16.61 trillion or $40 billion. Ladies and gentlemen, Nigeria needs help to tackle this debt burden.

“International partnerships on debt are helping Africa, and Nigeria. The issuance of special drawing rights (SDR) by the International Monetary Fund of $650 billion helped provide liquidity support for countries. However, Africa only received $33 billion out of all of that. Pretty small.

“A call made by the African heads of State for developed economies to rechannel $100 billion of additional SDRs to Africa will go a long way to reduce the debt burden in Nigeria.

“Allocating this SDR, some of this, through the African Development Bank will actually allow us to leverage it four times because we are a leveraging machine. We can deliver more financing to Nigeria and Africa.”

With the debt burden, Nigeria and other African countries, he said, were being made to run up the hill carrying a backpack full of sand.

Africa, he said, loses $15 billion as a result of climate change.
He called for the use of Nigeria’s challenges for positive change.

“Those thorns should not discourage us, they call on us to strengthen international partnerships around Nigeria. Nigeria’s growth will be conditioned on its ability to fix its massive infrastructure deficit,” he said.

According to him, Nigeria would need $759 billion up until 2043 to address infrastructural challenges.

“We must change our ways sometimes. To attract greater foreign direct investment to Nigeria, we must fix security, capital does not like to be troubled.

“With the right conditions in place, we can confidently say Nigeria is a great investment destination; believe in us, invest in us, invest with us, and you will not be disappointed,” he said.

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Source: news