Edo State government will today, Friday, host the Senior Director, Governance Global Practice, at the World Bank, Debbie Wentzel, in continuation of the series of expert meetings and consultations between the World Bank and the state government to deepen the bank’s officials’ insights into the workings of the Obaseki-led government and pave way for a special support window from the bank.
Wentzel who will be accompanied by the bank’s Practice Manager, Hisham Waly, will be hosted to sessions to be led by Governor Godwin Obaseki.
The World Bank’s officials’ visit will build on previous discussions between Edo government and the Bretton Woods institution that has expressed its readiness to increase the tempo of its developmental activities in the state, after rating the Obaseki-led administration high on transparency, accountability and demonstrable commitment to the sanctity and integrity of development-based partnership.
According to the bank, “the meetings will provide the platform for the governor to share his perspectives on governance issues in Nigeria in general and Edo State in particular with a view to identifying possible areas of intervention by the bank, and to also discuss progress on the implementation of the State Employment and Expenditure For Results (SEEFOR) project which falls under Wentzel’s portfolio.”
The meetings will be followed by “visits to some project sites as well as interactive session with beneficiaries of the projects across sub-components on-site and their representatives.”
The Senior Director’s one-day visit is coming one week after the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Rachid Benmassoud, paid a 2-day visit to Edo State.
Benmassoud was accompanied by senior specialists in various sector areas, such as institutional reforms, public works, gender, agriculture, water and sanitation.
Development experts who have been following the World Bank’s relationship with the Obaseki administration say Benmassoud’s visit was predicated on Edo State government’s impressive deployment of funding, technical and other assistance of the World Bank, which was attested to recently, by 11 Executive Directors of the World Bank, who were in the state recently, for on-the-spot assessment of the bank-sponsored developmental projects in the state.
Obaseki said Debbie Wentzel’s visit will deepen talks and insights of the bank on the developmental aspiration of Edo State, to enable the bank customise its developmental products to suit the peculiar needs of the state.
He assured the state government would expand ongoing development conversation with the bank on support for the state’s education and health sectors; rural development, job creation, gender issues and infrastructural development amongst others.
“The several visits of the World Bank officials lend credence to our commitment to bringing development to our people in the state, with the support of our partners,” the governor said.
He maintained that Edo State under his watch places high premium on the sanctity and the integrity of partnerships, contracts as well as an open and transparent process.
“Development partners like the World Bank, operate in an environment where stakeholders abide by rules governing the partnerships, and in which input, output and outcomes are measured from time to time. The World Bank will not take you seriously if all you do is to award ‘political contracts,” he added.
Some of the bank-sponsored projects such as erosion control projects under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Project (NEWMAP), Edo State Employment and Expenditure for Result (SEEFOR), covering road projects; agriculture (FADAMMA); water, sanitation and review policy.