World Bank supercharges Nigeria with new $700 million loan
The World Bank has approved a substantial loan of $700 million in a significant move aimed at bolstering educational opportunities and empowerment for adolescent girls in Nigeria.
This announcement, made through an official statement on the World Bank’s website, signifies a substantial commitment towards enhancing the lives of young girls in the country.
The allocated funds are intended to support the ongoing “Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment” project. The primary objective of this initiative is to improve secondary education accessibility for girls residing in specific target states within Nigeria.
The statement from the World Bank articulated, “The World Bank approved additional financing of $700 million for Nigeria to scale up the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment program whose goal is to improve secondary education opportunities among girls in targeted states.”
Notably, this financing expansion will extend project activities from the existing seven states to eleven additional states, broadening the program’s reach and encompassing out-of-school girls, those in marital unions, and those facing disabilities.
The context of this loan is set against the backdrop of Nigeria’s staggering figures of 12 million to 15 million out-of-school children in the school-age group, with a substantial concentration in Northern Nigeria. The heightened insecurity around schools during 2020-2021 further exacerbated this educational crisis, affecting approximately one million children.
Within the seven states already implementing the AGILE program – Borno, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, and Plateau – the number of girls enrolled in secondary schools has seen a remarkable rise, climbing from roughly 900,000 to over 1.6 million. Additionally, this initiative has resulted in renovating more than 5,000 classrooms and providing scholarships to over 250,000 eligible girls.
The AGILE program has also taken strides in improving the infrastructure of secondary schools with the installation of modern amenities such as computers and solar panels. These enhancements aim to create a more conducive learning environment for both girls and boys. Beyond infrastructure, the program addresses societal norms impeding girls’ education, focusing on life skills, systems strengthening, and advocacy.
Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, underscored the importance of investing in adolescent girls, stating, “Closing the gender gaps in economic empowerment by ensuring girls have access to education and skills is key for Nigeria’s development and economic prosperity.”
In addition to the adolescent girls benefiting from this funding, over 15 million students and various stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, families, communities, and staff in existing and newly constructed schools, are set to experience the positive impact of this initiative.
The injection of these funds will extend the project’s presence to 18 states, aiming to achieve improved educational and health outcomes for girls across Nigeria.
This development follows two earlier loan approvals under the administration of Bola Tinubu, with the first being a $750 million loan to bolster Nigeria’s power sector on June 9, 2023, and the second being a $500 million loan aimed at advancing women’s empowerment, approved on June 22, 2023.