The World Bank Group discussed a new five-year Country Partnership Framework from 2021 to 2024 with Nigeria and approved a $1.5bn package to help build a resilient recovery post-COVID-19.

The bank disclosed this in a statement entitled “World Bank Group to boost Nigeria’s efforts to reduce poverty,” on Tuesday.

It stated that Nigeria was at a critical juncture and with the sharp fall in oil prices as a result of COVID-19, the economy was projected to contract by over four per cent in 2020, plunging the country into its deepest recession since the 1980s.

Government revenues could fall by more than $15bn in 2020, and the crisis would push an additional five million Nigerians into poverty in 2020, according to the World Bank.

The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said, “This Country Partnership Framework will guide our engagement for the next five years in supporting the government of Nigeria’s strategic priorities by taking a phased and adaptive approach.

“To realise its long-term potential, the country has to make tangible progress on key challenges and pursue some bold reforms.

“Our engagement will focus on supporting Nigeria’s efforts to reduce poverty and promote sustained private sector-led growth.”

The World Bank said the CPF will focus on four areas of engagement which are investing in human capital, promoting jobs and economic transformation and diversification, enhancing resilience and strengthening the foundations of the public sector.

By investing in human capital, it said it would be increasing access to basic education, quality water and sanitation services; improving primary healthcare; and increasing the coverage and effectiveness of social assistance programs.

It said additional investments in promoting women’s empowerment and youth employment and skills, especially for young women, would also help reduce maternal and child mortality.

Promoting jobs and economic transformation and diversification would help with measures to unlock private investment and job creation, and increase access to reliable and sustainable power for households and firms.

The CPF would also focus on boosting digital infrastructure, and developing economic corridors and smart cities, to provide Nigerians with improved livelihoods.

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It would enhance resilience by strengthening service delivery and livelihood opportunities in the Northeast and other regions grappling with insecurity, as well as modernising agriculture and building climate resilience.

It would ensure strengthening the foundations of the public sector by improving public financial management and strengthening the social contract between citizens and government through improved fiscal and debt management.