President of Nigeria, Muhamadu Buhari, asked World Bank’s help to rapidly recover $320 million stolen under General Sani Abacha’s rule and hidden in Swiss accounts.
Buhari made the appeal to the Bank’s Chief Operating Officer, Sri Mulyani Indrawatito as she was visiting Nigeria, after stopping by Cameroon.
“We need the support of the World Bank for the repatriation of the funds. If such repatriated funds have been misapplied in the past, I assure you that the same will not happen with us,” Buhari said. Swiss authorities agreed to send back the funds on the condition that they are used to finance development projects, under the aegis of World Bank.
The visit of the COO was also the occasion for a direct dialogue regarding Nigeria’s economic status. Truly, Africa’s top economy suffers from a drop in quantity and prices of the crude it produces.
It is a situation which led to external and public revenues falling, deficit widening and Naira devaluating.
Indrawatito talked about various ways to support Nigeria, but none of the executives present came back on the $2.5 billion and one billion dollar loans that Nigeria asked World Bank and African Development Bank respectively at the beginning of 2016.
Regarding the World Bank loan, it was to be approved by IMF.
However, the latter like many international investors, wished for Nigeria to float its currency, or at least, officially devaluate it.
This constitutes today the stumbling block between Nigeria and its various western economic partners.
Buhari stands firm on his position which is that devaluating Naira is not adequate, referring to past and risk of inflation. Also, he signed with China various agreements, leaving a margin in case of a separation with his Western partners.