World bank grants Nigeria $700 million loan to support adolescent girls

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SERAP urges world bank to withhold loans to Nigeria
SERAP urges world bank to withhold loans to Nigeria

The World Bank has granted Nigeria a new loan of $700 million aimed at enhancing the learning and empowerment of adolescent girls, according to a statement released on its website on Friday.

This fresh funding will serve as additional resources for the ongoing Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment project.

The initiative aims to improve secondary education opportunities for girls in selected states.

The statement explained, “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.

“The additional financing will scale up project activities from the current seven states to eleven additional states and increase the targeted beneficiaries to include out-of-school girls, those who are married, and those who have disabilities.”

AGILE program transforms girls education in 7 states

It was noted that Nigeria has a significant number of out-of-school children, ranging from 12 million to 15 million, with a large portion located in Northern Nigeria.

Increased insecurity around schools affected approximately one million children in 2020-2021.

In the seven states where the AGILE program is currently being implemented – Borno, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, and Plateau – the number of girls in secondary schools has risen from approximately 900,000 to over 1.6 million.

The AGILE program has also facilitated the renovation of more than 5,000 classrooms and provided scholarships to over 250,000 eligible girls.

It has supported the construction and rehabilitation of WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) facilities in secondary schools and the installation of computers and solar panels to improve the learning environment. Life skills, system strengthening, and advocacy are also key components of the program aimed at addressing social norms that hinder girls’ education.

Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, emphasized the significance 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 girls who will benefit directly from this financing, over 15 million students, as well as teachers, administrators, families, communities, and school staff, will experience positive impacts.

The new funding will expand the project to 18 states, contributing to improved education and health outcomes for girls in Nigeria.

It is worth noting that the funding provided incentives for schooling in six states, including Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, and Plateau, where parents and caregivers of approximately 300,000 impoverished female students received N10,000 per term. Additionally, each girl’s parent received N5,000 upon registration in the program.

This loan represents the third loan facility approved during the administration of President Bola Tinubu.

The previous loans were $750 million to boost Nigeria’s power sector, approved on June 9, 2023, and $500 million to support women’s empowerment, approved on June 22, 2023.