The African Development Bank(AfDB) has commended the commercial agriculture programme and the high tech medical initiatives of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD).
Mr Ebrima Faal, Senior Director, AfDB’s Country Department, gave the commendation in Ado Ekiti on Sunday during the bank’s facility tour of the institution.
According to him, the initiatives have the capacity to boost agri-businesses in the state and Nigeria in general, calling on other institutions in the country to emulate ABUAD.
Faal said the 400-bed Multi System Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital could conveniently compete with some other prominent health institutions abroad.
He said the hospital had given the hope that the rate of medical tourism abroad would soon reduce, given the quality of its equipment and the medical personnel.
He expressed confidence that the feat would further enhance the bank’s relationship with the university.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the bank’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, in 2017 agreed to the institution’s request for the granting of $40m loan to enhance infrastructure development, which has been reportedly granted.
Faal added that the multi-sectoral farm and multi-system hospital investments of ABUAD and availability of experts from diverse fields would help in the smooth take-off of the knowledge zone being proposed by the state government.
“We are meeting the state government on the creation of a knowledge hub and how we can support transportation, agriculture and agro-based processing industries in Ekiti State.
“ABUAD has done exceedingly well in the area of agriculture. When you talk of a better agro-based zone that can boost Nigeria’s economy, ABUAD is laying a good foundation and it is good that other emulate the institution.
“With your multifaceted investments and exploits in academics, you are not only the anchor of development in Ekiti but also, a leading university in Africa.
“AfDB is proud of ABUAD’s achievements. One will wonder how a university that was established only nine years ago could dominate virtually every sector in Nigeria. The feat that you have achieved makes it much easier for us to do business with you,” Faal said.
Responding, Chief Afe Babalola, Founder of the University said that the fund given to the university by the bank had been judiciously spent on equipping the hospital to a world-class status.
Babalola,however,regretted that the university ought to have begun work on its proposed industrial park but for a court action filed by the former owner of the land where the park was scheduled to take off.
“When we conceptualised the idea of building this hospital, we came to you for funding. However, when the money did not come on time, we sourced for fund elsewhere to begin the physical structures.
“However, when you eventually released the fund, we found it useful. We used it to purchase state-of-the-art equipment which are not available in any hospital in Ekiti State,” he said.
Babalola lamented that lack of airport facility in Ekiti had made the state inaccessible to investors, a situation which he said had impacted negatively on the institution.(NAN)