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“To integrate Africa, bring down the walls,” Adesina urges at 2019 AfDB Annual Meetings Open in Malabo

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African leaders on Wednesday underscored the urgent need to fast-track the continent’s regional integration process in order to accelerate Africa’s economic transformation.

The call was made at the opening ceremony of the Bank’s 2019 Annual Meetings, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, with the theme: “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity.”

Apart and divided, Africa is weakened. Together and united, Africa will be unstoppable,” the Bank’s President Akinwumi Adesina told delegates at the packed Sipopo Conference Center.

Adesina urged African governments to work toward the elimination of non-tariff barriers. “Pulling down non-tariff barriers alone, will spur trade by at least 53%, and potentially double trade,” he said.

The opening ceremony was presided over by the host nation’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Also in attendance were King Letsie III of Lesotho; President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini, Prime Minister of eSwatini. High-level government officials from Rwanda, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Côte d’Ivoire were also present.

In his opening speech, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo recalled that Equatorial Guinea, once one of the poorest countries in the world, has since been radically transformed with one of the highest per capita incomes on the continent.

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“For me, development is not about per capita income, it is about expanding the opportunities for the people to live a more dignified life,” Obiang Nguema Mbasogo said.

“Equatorial Guinea is open for business. We are committed to regional integration for shared prosperity. We count on the African Development Bank to help us achieve economic diversification and the consolidation of social equality.”

Regional integration is one of the Bank’s strategic High 5 agendas to rapidly advance Africa’s economic transformation.

In the past several years, the African Development Bank has invested over $13 billion in the central African region. “And for every dollar invested, the region has leveraged $36, an incredible rate of return of 36 times,” Adesina noted.

The Bank’s investments include the construction of the Central African fibre optic network that connects the population with faster and less expensive access to the Internet, and is boosting businesses and regional integration.

In his remarks, Equatorial Guinea’s Finance Minister Cesar Mba Abogo said: “Progress is the realisation of utopia. This is a country of utopia in Africa, with independence and the ability to control our own destiny. It seemed impossible at first in the last century but it was done. Now our utopia is regional integration.”

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More than 2,000 participants are attending the Annual Meetings, a unique opportunity to share the Bank’s perspectives on the state of Africa’s economy. The meetings also provides updates on the Bank’s work and serves as a platform for the exchange of views on emerging issues shaping the future of the continent.

The Prime Minister of Equatorial Guinea, the president of the Senate, members of governments, the diplomatic corps as well as the African Development Bank’s Governors, Executive Directors, and other dignitaries attended the opening ceremony.

“There’s excitement in the air on Africa’s economic opportunities, and those opportunities are boundless. The newly ratified Africa Continental Free Trade Area will make Africa the largest free trade zone in the world, with a combined GDP of over $3.3 trillion,” Adesina said.

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Ladoja At 76: Alao pens emotional thank you message to ex-Oyo governor

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Ibadan North East/South East Federal House of representatives nominee of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in the 2019 election, Mr. Semih Oladimeji Alao on Friday penned an emotional appreciation message to former Governor Rasidi Ladoja, describing him as the most innovative personality in politics. 

 

 

The Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Chief Ladoja, was born on September 25, 1944.

 

Alao in a message obtained by Mega Icon Magazine also thanked the former governor of Oyo state for his amazing efforts and support over the years.

The message reads, “Happy 76th Birthday to Osi Olubadan of Ibadan, the most innovative person in politics today. High Chief (Daddy) Rasidi Adewolu Ladoja.

 

“Not only do you seamlessly adapt to address the emerging challenges from the persistent ones that we face in our society today, but you are also always striving to make things better with new approaches and such unfaltering determination.

“I just want to thank you for all of your amazing efforts and support over the years!

“Many happy returns to you today Sir”, it added.

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2020 budget touched all sectors of economy inspite of COVID-19 – Makinde

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Governor Seyi Makinde has said that the 2020 budget of Oyo state touched every sector of the state’s economy has requested by citizens and stakeholders.

The Governor, who spoke through his deputy, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, disclosed this at the 2021 town hall stakeholders meeting held at Igboho.

The governor lamented that COVID-19 brought a shrink to the budget on capital expenditure, adding, that the state is still managing to accommodate all the needs of each community as highlighted by the stakeholders.

 

He said that the state is poised to engage more stakeholders in the preparation of the 2021 budget by consulting across the seven geopolitical zones in Oyo state as opposed to the three senatorial districts for the 2020 budget for more openness and transparency.

 

Governor Makinde further asserted that his administration is predominantly about inclusion which is the fulcrum on which democracy rests, urging the people to come out and dialogue with government since they are the most affected by the decisions of government.

 

While x- raying some completed projects executed by his administration in Oke-Ogun region, the governor disclosed that government has begun the remodeling of OYSADA headquarters at Saki, upgrading of various primary healthcare centres and facilities and the set up of a specialist hospital.

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The state helmsman urged the people to be security conscious in the face of recent security challenges, saying, security is our collective responsibility.

While responding to the requests and submissions from all local governments and stakeholders, he assured that the state will ensure that the issues of security, education, employment and power supply will be looked into and will get budgetary attention in 2021 within the available resources.

 

Earlier, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Barr Adeniyi Farinto highlighted the projects the government executed as requested by the people of the region in the 2020 budget meetup with stakeholders.

 

He said the construction of the Moniya-Iseyin road, return of OYSADEP now OYSADA headquarters to Saki, fixing of Saki- Ogboro- Igboho road among other things are a promise kept by the current administration.

The commissioner urged the citizens of the food basket region of the state to make inputs and cooperate with government in fixing roads and other projedts to enable government in delivering on its promises.

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Makinde flags off construction of 360 housing units, Ajoda new town estate

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Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, flagged off the construction of 360 Housing Units at the Ajoda New Town Estate, located on the New Ibadan-Ife Expressway.

 

 

The estate, which is estimated to cost about Two Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira (N2.5 billion), according to the governor, will enhance affordable housing to all and sundry in the state.

 

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the strategic location of the new estate will ensure that the investors make quick returns on their investments.

 

 

In another development, Governor Makinde, also, on Wednesday, handed over the Agbowo Shopping Complex, Ibadan, to investors who have committed to turning around the fortunes of the abandoned complex in 104 weeks.

 

 

The complex, which is located opposite the Main Gate of University of Ibadan, was commissioned in 1984 but abandoned 12 years ago.

 

 

The statement indicated that Makinde, while speaking at the flag-off ceremony held at the Ajoda Housing Estate, New Ife Road, Ibadan, declared the determination of his administration to bridge the gap in the housing sector in Oyo State.

 

 

He said that the New Ajoda Housing Project is jointly sponsored by the Oyo State Government and Remax Realtors Limited, saying that, while the state provided thirteen (13) hectares of land for the scheme, the developer is expected to solely finance the project.

 

 

The governor, who stated that the flagging off of the Ajoda Housing Estate is a fulfilment of one of his campaign promises, said the project will consist of 2-bedroom semi-detached houses; 3-bedroom semi-detached houses and 3-bedroom detached houses.

 

 

This was just as the governor said that the project will be replicated in other parts of the state so that many residents of the state can benefit from such projects.

 

 

He added that investors have begun to repose confidence in the state and are willing to do business in Oyo State because of the way the government is now being run by the present administration.

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He said: “We are here today to flag off a project, which is in fulfilment of one of my campaign promises. Those who have taken time to study our Roadmap for Accelerated Development in Oyo State, 2019-2023, would have come across our promise to facilitate private sector-driven housing delivery through variants of public-private partnership (PPP) initiatives.

 

 

“And so today, we are flagging off the construction of three hundred and sixty (360) housing units here in Egbeda Local Government Area, Ibadan Zone.

“As I said earlier, this is a PPP initiative. We are working with Remax Realtors Limited. To make this project a reality, the Oyo State Government through the Oyo State Housing Corporation is providing thirteen (13) hectares of land for the scheme, while the developer will solely finance the entire project.

 

 

“The project will cost N2.5 Billion, and upon completion, the developers will recoup their finances when the houses are sold. We have seen the wisdom of getting contractors or developers to commit to projects by using their own monies to carry them out.

 

 

“Some people may wonder why we are starting off in the Ibadan Zone? Well, the need for an affordable housing scheme in Oyo State is clearly evident. Statistics show that the population of the capital city has been growing at over 2 per cent since 2018 with a peak of over 2.5 per cent in 2020. So, half of the population of Oyo State live in Ibadan Zone.

 

 

“But that the project is starting in Ibadan Zone does not mean that it will end here. Our plan is to replicate these housing units in other parts of Oyo State in the shortest possible time.”

 

 

He also charged members of the public who are interested in buying landed properties in Oyo State to patronize Oyo State Housing Corporation, adding that his administration will continue to operate an open-door policy.

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Similarly, while speaking at the flag-off of the renovation and remodelling of Agbowo Shopping Complex, Governor Makinde stated that the state will work in collaboration with Messrs Whitestone Global Ltd to convert the moribund facility into a premium commercial real estate and a 4-star hotel.

 

 

He said the collaboration will be in the form of a long lease concession for 50 years, with a capital injection of N4.9Billion, saying: “Our administration understands that the only business that the government should have in business is to create a conducive environment and the needed support for private enterprises to thrive. And this is what we are doing.

 

 

“You will readily agree that the injection of N4.9 Billion into the Oyo State economy is an economic stimulus in the short term which will translate to broader benefits in the long run.

 

 

“The process of selecting the concessionaires was also transparent. As everyone knows, the days of getting contracts from the government solely because a person knows the governor is in the past. I make bold to say that the PPP mechanism of the state has been re-engineered for effectiveness.”

 

The governor assured that shop owners in the complex would have the right of first refusal when the complex is finally remodeled.

 

 

He also promised to put up a revolving fund scheme to assist those who may not have the money to pay for the shops by the time the project is completed.

 

In his remarks at the two events, the chairman of the Oyo State Housing Corporation, Barr. Bayo Lawal, said the experience of the corporation in the past has not been palatable, stating, however, that the pains are gradually being addressed by Governor Makinde.

 

He also appealed to those desirous of owning lands in the state to approach the corporation for reliable landed property.

 

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Also speaking, the Managing Director, Remax realtors Limited, Adefunke Adesoji, said it was an honour to work with the Oyo State governor on the project, which was conceived as a public-private partnership.

 

 

In their separate remarks, the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Barrister Abiodun Abdulraheem and his counterpart in the Ministry of Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, enjoined investors and residents of the state to key into the projects, which they described as a landmark initiative.

 

 

Also speaking at the handing over of Agbowo Shopping Complex, the Managing Director of Whitestone Global Ltd., Mr. Woleola Oluwole, said: “Today is indeed a great day and another landmark in the trending capacity of Oyo State. This is not surprising because we have a governor that is an honour to follow; we have a governor who is a father to watch. Here we are today marking another trend for others to follow.

 

 

“In this place today, as it is, in the next few months, we will know, indeed, that the God of heaven has smiled upon us and the rest of Oyo State.

 

 

“This facility, when completed, will have a time level car park that will double as a drive-in Cinema in the evening; a 10-floor first class hotel; 600 capacity 3D Cinema in the evening, an underground gaming arcade; what I call the 22nd-Century E-shopping Mall. All of these will be inside 25,000 square metres.”

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