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Nigeria to Host Annual Meeting of the Common Fund for Commodities November 23-24 in Abuja

By Common Fund for Commodities (CFC)
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As Africa's largest market, Nigeria has in the past 20 years, taken the lead position in outperforming many national economies on the continent and within the West African region in particular.

While the oil sector has contributed greatly to the success, many Nigerians know that sustainable economic development will only happen, when the country realizes its huge potential in the agricultural sector.

In this regard, the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) has played a strategic role in contributing to Nigeria's effort towards increased productivity and performance of major agricultural commodities, such as oil palm, cocoa, sorghum, rice, rubber and others. The Amsterdam-based Common Fund, finances commodity development projects for smallholder farmers, as well as small and medium sized enterprises in commodity production, processing and trade in developing and least developed countries.

As a founding member of the Common Fund in 1989, Nigeria has benefitted from some of the most successful commodity interventions and outcomes, and this is why its role and position has enhanced the work and project initiatives undertaken by the Common Fund throughout Africa.

Last year, as the Common Fund was marking its 20th year anniversary, Nigeria came forward and agreed to host this year's annual meeting of the CFC's Governing Council in Abuja, November 23-24, as part of the country's 50th Independence Anniversary activities.

CFC's Managing Director, Amb. Ali Mchumo, says, “We're very honoured, at this auspicious time of national celebrations to have Nigeria host the annual meeting of the Governing Council, which is the highest decision-making body within the institutional structure of the Common Fund; as well as to stress Nigeria's role and influence as a member-country and for its leadership within the Africa Group.”

The Common Fund has financed a range of important commodity development projects in the country, and CFC has been a contributing partner in Nigeria's burgeoning commodities sector, as the country gradually has concentrated more in developing the non-oil sector of its economy.

As a member-country, Nigeria has also played a key role in the Fund's regional cooperation initiatives that have had positive outcomes in employment generation, food security and poverty alleviation; while enabling local commodity producers to become more integrated in the global economy and increasing the asset base, especially for smallholder producers.

Amb. Mchumo added that many CFC's collaborating partners and agencies, especially those undertaking projects in applied agricultural research have achieved tremendous successes, major scientific breakthroughs and innovative practices in the cassava (IITA), cocoa (CRIN), rice (WARDA), groundnuts (IAR), rubber (IRRDB) and other sectors, working closely in cooperation with leading research institutes based locally in Nigeria.

The total CFC financial commitment for projects involving Nigeria, including other participating countries in West Africa, is USD 35,475,556 (approx. USD 35.5 million). Presently, several new CFC projects recently approved for financing are ongoing; and overall nearly 30 projects have been implemented in the country. Nigeria also has benefited directly from various agricultural measures that have largely assisted commodity agro-processors and developed market access and expanded networks for trade, contributing to increased productivity and the economic vitality of diverse commodity sectors and venture enterprises in the country.

Last year, seeking to address larger, regional integration issues, such as transportation and infrastructure systems, marketing and trade expansion, the Common Fund, together with the Nigerian Shippers Council, coordinated an international expert meeting in Calabar, which provided an effective platform for the main stakeholders to exchange ideas on how best to resolve issues involving the transportation sector. The meeting explored pragmatic policy and technical solutions related the high costs in the transportation of export commodities originating from Africa.

The World Bank has echoed the conclusions of CFC's seminar on the problem of high transportation costs, as “one of the major barriers” to trade and lack of competitiveness of African export commodities in the international marketplace. [END-2010]

For additional information, please visit www.common-fund.org.

The Common Fund for Commodities - www.common-fund.org- is a 106- member state international financial institution based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The Fund's specific mandate is to support developing countries that are commodity dependent to improve and diversify commodities production and trade.