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World Bank engages SMEs in Edo, declares support for Obaseki’s blueprint

A Senior Economist with the World Bank, Gloria Joseph-Raji, has said the Bank is committed to supporting Governor Godwin Obaseki’s blueprint on developing a vibrant private sector to ensure sustainable development and job creation in the state.

R-L: Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu; Team Leader of World Bank delegation, Edda Ivan-Smith; and Managing Director, Edo Geographic Information Service (EDOGIS) Agency, Arch. Frank Evbuomwan, during a meeting between officials of the state government and the World Bank, at Government House in Benin City on Monday, March 25, 2019.

Joseph-Raji, who led a World Bank delegation to the state, disclosed this at an interactive meeting with local investors in Benin City, the state capital. The meeting had in attendance members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Benin Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (BENCCIMA), among others.

She said the team was in the state to engage with relevant stakeholders on the efforts of the state government to groom a vibrant private sector, noting, “We are here because the World Bank wants to support the programmes of the government, as the Edo State Government is clearly very progressive and result-oriented.”

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“Obaseki is doing things the right way and wants to deliver results to Edo people. The World Bank supports all of that aspiration. Basically, the World Bank supports countries’ programmes and that is what we are here to do.”

She added that the governor’s engagement with the private sector is robust, noting, “It is not sustainable to expect the government to create all the jobs. The government cannot employ so many people. It is the private sector that will employ many people. It is the businesses of private investors that will employ people. If your businesses thrive, more people will be employed. That is what the governor wants to do and the World Bank is here to support that.”

On the World Bank’s mission to the state, she said the Bank is designing a programme to support Edo State Government in developing a vibrant private sector.

According to her, “When we come for missions like this, we talk to the governments and their agencies involved in skills development as well as ministries. But this time around, we said we want to talk to the private sector and investors to understand and hear from them directly, the issues they face.”

She said it was important for the World Bank to get feedback from stakeholders in the private sector on how the state government engages with them and assist the investors in addressing challenges.

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