DFID's Programme in Nigeria - International Development Committee Contents


1. Nigeria has the largest population of any country in Africa and is the eighth most populous country in the world.[1] Despite, or perhaps because of, oil wealth, poverty levels are high with more than half of its 150 million people living on less than $1 a day and one in five children dying before the age of five. However, for reasons which this report will make clear, the country receives relatively little development assistance per capita (around $6) compared to the average for sub-Saharan Africa (over $20). The Department for International Development's (DFID's) programme in Nigeria has increased from £35 million in 2003-04 to £120 million in 2009-10.[2]

2. The country's importance to West Africa and to the continent as a whole, and the size of DFID's programme there were the main reasons for us embarking on our inquiry, which we first announced in January 2008. Our intention then was to visit Nigeria in March of that year. Unfortunately, due to urgent business in the House of Commons, we were not able to leave Westminster and the visit had to be cancelled. Given the importance we place on seeing DFID's work on the ground and speaking to the people who are directly affected by it, we decided to postpone the inquiry until we were able to make the visit.

3. We relaunched the inquiry in April this year. We were able to make our visit to Nigeria in June and on our return held three sessions of oral evidence at Westminster, with academics and commentators, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and with the DFID Minister (Gareth Thomas MP) and officials. We also received a number of pieces of written evidence. We are grateful to all those who contributed to our inquiry.

Our visit to Nigeria

4. We visited Nigeria from 10-18 June. We went first to Lagos, then travelled north to Kano State and ended our visit in Abuja. We met State and Federal Ministers and officials, NGOs, other donors and a wide range of Nigerian people living in both urban and rural settings. Our full visit programme is set out as an Annex to this Report. Due to time constraints and security considerations, we did not visit the Niger Delta region, but we did receive evidence on the particular issues affecting the region which informed the inquiry. We would like to express our thanks to everyone we met in Nigeria for the contribution they made to such an interesting and valuable visit, and particularly to the DFID officials who arranged our programme.

Structure of the Report

5. In Chapter 2 we examine the context in which DFID operates in Nigeria and how its country programme is structured. Chapter 3 looks at provision of basic services, including health and education. Chapter 4 analyses the challenges Nigeria faces in relation to governance. In Chapter 5 we assess the impact of oil wealth on Nigeria, how it might be better managed to benefit the Nigerian people, and the causes of the conflict in the Niger Delta. In the concluding chapter, we set out our views on DFID's future engagement with Nigeria.

1   Growth and Employment in States Technical Annex, April 2009, DFID Nigeria (not printed) Back

2   Ev 52-53 Back

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Prepared 23 October 2009