An Islamic Bank has been operational in Nigeria with its office opening in Abuja, FCT to kick-start the pursuance of its goals and objectives.
The Islamic Development Bank Group (IDBG) on Monday formally opened its Nigeria Country Gateway Office in Abuja with a mission to focus its services on health, agriculture, infrastructure, small and medium-scale enterprise and regional integration.
The group said it was also considering the education sector, particularly bilingual education, among its priority service areas in Nigeria as a key tool to counter extremism.
“These are what we aspire to do as IDB Group and what we stand for,” its President, Ahmad Ali, said in his statement at the opening ceremony in Abuja.
Reiterating IDBG’s mission to strengthen solidarity and economic relationship among member countries, Mr. Ali said opening the office in Nigeria was to reinforce the cooperation between it and Nigeria as the largest member in Africa.
The group’s presence in Nigeria, he said, would strengthen socio-economic, technical and commercial cooperation between the bank and member countries in Africa.
While expecting Nigeria to play a key role in realizing these objectives, Mr. Ali said this was important with the completion of the last portion of Trans Saharan Road linking Algiers in North Africa and Lagos.
“There is an urgent need to develop and implement an action plan for countries along this road, including Nigeria, to benefit from the infrastructure economically, commercially and financially,” he said.
As host of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) secretariat, Mr. Ali said it was important for Nigeria to contribute to regional cooperation and integration, assuring the bank would be willing to lend its support.
He pledged the bank’s readiness to support Nigeria’s development priorities and ensure its services complemented the ones by other development partners as they relate to the country’s transformation process.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who, prior to the opening received Mr. Ali in her office, urged the IDBG to support Nigeria’s effort to reconstruct the North East part of Nigeria devastated by years of militancy by insurgent group, Boko Haram.