By Dayo Adesulu
African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved an eight-year $40-million corporate loan to the AfeBabalola University, ABUAD, Ado Ekiti, to finance part of the university’s expansion plan.
The project, which was approved by the ADB Board of Directors on October 19, 2016, is the bank’s first private-sector transaction in the education sector.
It will make ABUAD a centre of excellence for tertiary education in Africa that will specialise in nurturing entrepreneurial and leadership skills in young persons.
A statement from the AfDB said the project will enable the institution to expand its capacity to offer high-quality education to over 10,000 students per year.
The Bank’s financing will help the university realize its ambitious vision to double its student capacity by 2025, while having strong demonstration effect for the development of the tertiary education sector in Africa.
It said: “The expansion plan consists of construction of new facilities – including a 400-bed teaching hospital, an industrial research park, and a small hydro power (SHP) installation (1.1 MW), and capacity strengthening of ABUAD’s administrative and governance structures.
“Beyond doubling ABUAD’s current student capacity, the project will create 250 new staff positions, as well as about 1,000 temporary jobs across the construction, supplies and consulting in the value chain. Full/ partial scholarships and other forms of substantial financial aid will be provided to over 500 student beneficiaries during the life of the loan.”
At the end of the project, ABUAD is expected to generate over 12,000 high-quality and employable graduates, in addition to over 2,400 trained farmers who will benefit from the university’s farmers training programmes.
Senior Vice-President, ADB FrannieLéautier said: “Education is one of the booming private sector engagements in Africa at this time. The bank’s support to the sector will help leverage quality education, especially in science and technology.”
According to her, the ADB will be exploring other avenues and scholarships in support of education in the disciplines critical to Africa’s development.
Nigeria has 138 universities, including 59 private ones.