The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Saturday said it has approved 288.5 million U.S. dollar loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.
In a statement made available to Xinhua in Lagos, the bank said the loan will bolster the government’s plans to improve surveillance and response to COVID-19 emergencies, ease the impact on workers and businesses and strengthen the social protection system.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s largest oil producer, is facing twin crises — a health epidemic caused by COVID-19, and an economic crunch largely occasioned by a global oil price plunge.
As of Friday night, the west African country reported 11,844 cases, 3,696 recoveries and 333 deaths.
The loan is the bank’s initial response to help Nigeria mitigate the slump in oil prices and its impact on the national economy, according to the bank.
“The proposed program will ensure that the fiscal position and the economy are sufficiently supported to weather the COVID-19 shocks, thereby limiting its potential adverse impact on livelihoods and the economy more generally,” said Ebrima Faal, senior director of the AfDB for Nigeria.
Faal said beyond the country’s immediate economic recovery needs, the bank and other development partners, will dialogue with Nigerian government on proposals for medium-term structural reforms to diversify and boost domestic revenues away from the oil sector.