The Islamic Development Bank is considering making Nigeria its regional operational hub as part of a decentralisation strategy revealed at its annual meeting in Jeddah.
The bank’s office in the Nigerian capital of Abuja was opened earlier this year and could act as a focal point for its operations in West and Central African member states.
“We have completed an extensive study of decentralisation that included field visits to some development institutions that applied this approach to maximise benefits and avoid draw-backs,” said the bank’s president Bandar Mohammed Hajjar. “Greater powers would be devolved on regional offices to support them with specialised staff and the transfer there of many operations from the main centre.”
West and Central African nations account for the majority of the Bank’s 27 African members. Abuja would serve as a gateway for countries such as Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Guinea, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Uganda.
At a side event at the annual meeting, the Bank’s private sector arm, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), announced a strategic agreement with China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund), a Beijing-based private equity firm and subsidiary of the China Development Bank, which focuses on Africa.
The deal is intended to mobilise investment in the African Islamic Infrastructure Financing Fund, which will be established by CADFund and the ICD.
ICD chief executive officer and general manager Khaled Al Aboodi commented: “ICD and CADfund share the vision of promoting foreign direct investment, trade, and inclusive economic growth on a continent which is full of potential. By joining forces, we can better combine our expertise and commitment to achieve greater economic prosperity for the benefit of all. Additionally, ICD’s commitment to accelerate infrastructure development in Africa and specifically sub-Saharan Africa will bring the at least the basic level of energy, transportation, medical and educational needs of citizens of African member countries.”