DFID's Programme in Nigeria - International Development Committee Contents


Power supply

27. The inadequacy of the power sector is a serious obstacle to economic growth and to decent living conditions for many people in Nigeria. The World Bank reports that "the quality of the electricity services is the largest barrier to business in Nigeria".[61] We were told that businesses were leaving Lagos and Kano to relocate elsewhere in West Africa because of the unreliability of the power supply. It is impossible to spend even a short time in Nigeria without noticing how inefficient the electricity supply is. During all our meetings, including in the capital city, there was at least one power cut and often several. The sound of generators is known as "the anthem of Nigeria" because of its pervasiveness. 90% of businesses have their own generators which provide 60% of their energy needs.[62] President Yar-Adua has included reform of the power sector in his 7-Point Agenda, identifying it as the key constraint to growth in Nigeria.[63] In our recent Report on Urbanisation and Poverty, we highlighted the importance of reliable and affordable power supply for poor people trying to run small businesses or travel to work in urban centres.[64]

28. The country currently has an effective generation capacity of 2.5000 Mw against an estimated peak requirement of 10,000 Mw.[65] Only 60% of the population has access to electricity and national consumption is amongst the lowest in the world.[66] It has been estimated that it would cost $50 billion to ensure a reasonable electricity supply, a sum which is likely to be well beyond what the Federal Government can afford. The new Minister of Power, Lanre Babalola, has said that significant private investment will be needed if Nigeria is to add the capacity it needs to meet its economic goals.[67] The focus is therefore on rehabilitation of the existing infrastructure and distribution network to enable the current output to be increased to 6,000 Mw by the end of 2009, although doubt was expressed to us as to whether this would be achieved.

29. Capital investment is not the only problem—other significant challenges are establishing a regulatory framework for the power industry and fixing tariffs. We were told during our visit that there is a widespread view that the price of electricity has to be kept low to help the poor but that this is a myth, because people rely on the proliferation of private generators which are far more expensive to buy and run than paying a reasonable sum for a reliable publicly provided supply would be. The official tariff for mains electricity is 6 naira per kilowatt hour; running a generator is estimated to cost about 35 naira per kilowatt hour.[68] Location of new power stations is also an issue: it would make sense to locate them in the south where the gas reserves are but the northern States want control over their own supply.

30. DFID is working with the Federal Government to build project management capacity which is a major stumbling block to progress in the power sector. The Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF) is providing £13.5 million over five years from 2007-2012 for technical assistance to improve planning, management, implementation and maintenance of infrastructure investment and related regulatory functions in the power, transport and water sectors.[69]

31. In June 2009, the World Bank approved funding of $200 million for the Nigeria Electricity and Gas Improvement Project aimed at strengthening the electricity transmission system and improving service delivery. The Project is intended to improve the availability and reliability of the gas supply to increase power generation in existing public sector power plants; and to improve the power network's capacity to transmit and distribute electricity to consumers. Enhancement of the transmission and distribution infrastructure is focused on a number of cities including Kano, Kaduna, Abuja and Port Harcourt. [70]

32. It is vital that Nigeria meets the challenge of ensuring a reliable power supply with sufficient capacity to meet the needs of its people. If it fails to do so, the country's economic development and progress towards the MDGs will be jeopardised. This is therefore a crucial area for donor support and we welcome DFID's contribution through the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility: building capacity within Nigeria's public sector to plan, manage and implement major projects will be a key factor in transforming the power supply. DFID is a major donor to the World Bank and shares the goals for Nigeria set out in the joint Country Partnership Strategy. It should use this position to ensure that reform and improvement of the power sector remains a high priority for World Bank activity in Nigeria.

Employment and economic growth

33. The new Country Partnership Strategy says that Nigeria faces an "unemployment crisis".[71] The Nigerian Government's own assessment is that "the performance of the manufacturing sector, which is expected to be a major driver of the economy, is abysmal".[72] More than 90% of the Nigerian workforce is employed in the informal sector and less than 10% of the 6 million new entrants into the labour market each year gain access to formal employment. DFID highlights that recent rapid economic growth has not resulted in the creation of jobs and that the oil sector, which generates 85% of government revenue, provides little employment for Nigerians. [73]

34. During our visit we were told by both Federal ministers and State Commissioners that the public expected the government to provide jobs but that this was not possible. They believed that a more conducive business environment had to be created and a more entrepreneurial spirit encouraged. High youth unemployment is both a waste of Nigeria's potential and a contributory factor in crime and violence: the recent DFID White Paper points to large numbers of unemployed young men as one of the "underlying causes of conflict and fragility".[74] DFID asserts that "In Nigeria, private investment will have to play the decisive role in increasing non-oil growth and creating jobs", particularly as government funding is likely to be affected by the fall in oil revenues. [75] Nigeria has a large well-educated diaspora which could make a significant contribution to private sector development.

35. There are, however, two key "binding constraints" to economic growth and employment generation which DFID has identified: weak infrastructure; and the high-cost of and restricted access to finance.[76] As previously discussed, the inadequate and expensive power supply is a major obstacle to people setting up their own small businesses as buying a generator and the fuel to power it is often beyond their means. DFID also points to high transport costs, arising from poor roads which have decayed because of "decades of inappropriate maintenance due to funding shortages and lack of institutional capacity". Only 15% of federal roads are assessed by the Government as being in good condition. The railways "barely function". The resulting transport problems depress investment returns and act as a deterrent to business.[77] An example of the impact is that, with meat consumption increasing by 6-7% annually, the meat industry in Kano and Kaduna has the potential to grow rapidly. But it is hampered by the "hugely inefficient" transport of live animals from the north to the south, which substantially increases costs.[78]

36. When we met the President's Special Assistant on the MDGs, she drew attention to the impact on growth of the huge skills gap and the lack of vocational training. For example, the growth of Lagos's information and communication technology (ICT) sector is being hampered by the failure of the education system to turn out adequately trained workers. DFID and the World Bank also highlight a shortage of skilled staff as one of the key constraints on economic development. Nigeria is assessed as having "particularly low quality of science and technology education [and] a smaller number of enrolled and graduates in tertiary education" as a proportion of its population and in comparison with other countries (although many Nigerians have been educated, or have chosen to live, abroad).[79] All the industries which have been identified as having the potential for significant growth "require improvement of technical and vocational skills". [80]

37. DFID is currently working with the World Bank to develop a new programme for Growth and Employment in States (GEMS). This will provide technical assistance at the State and Federal level to improve the legal and regulatory environment for investment and "support medium, small and micro enterprises to enhance productivity in key value chains."[81] The aim of the programme is to deliver:

  • Lower cost and risk of investment;
  • Increased competitiveness and returns to investment in selected industries;
  • Dissemination of lessons learned to increase impact.[82]

The Minister estimated that "we can potentially create 100,000 direct jobs through the GEMS programme and potentially more generally improve about 600,000 livelihoods."[83] Mr Thomas was not able to provide us with any details of the sectors or regions in which these jobs would be created. However, the Head of DFID Nigeria told us that the GEMS programme was based on very detailed analysis, including business climate surveys in 10 States. DFID has since provided us with a copy of this technical study.[84]

38. The GEMS programme is part of the wider commitment given in the recent DFID White Paper to "help fragile and post-conflict countries generate economic opportunities which will benefit 7.5 million men, women and their dependants in five priority countries over five years." [85] The Minister told us that "the GEMS programme was very much in our mind as we were drafting the White Paper."[86]

39. At present, Nigeria is failing to exploit the potential of its economically productive people. Moreover, in an ethnically diverse country with a long history of political instability, the existence of large numbers of young unemployed men presents risks to stability and security. Nigeria needs support from donors to build its non-oil economic sectors and to generate jobs. DFID's Growth and Employment in States (GEMS) programme clearly has the potential to bring much needed jobs to Nigeria. The current target of 100,000 jobs is a promising start. However, given the size of the population in Nigeria and its rapid growth, and existing high levels of unemployment, it is important that it acts as a catalyst for Nigeria's State and Federal Governments to allocate resources to create similar programmes of their own. We recommend that further details about the economic sectors in which the GEMS jobs will be created, and in which parts of Nigeria, are provided in response to this report. We also request further information about how DFID's job generation programme is expected to complement the work of other donors and the Nigerian government's own efforts to create employment opportunities, and facilitate economic growth and private sector development.

40. We note that the Growth and Employment in States programme is expected to benefit 600,000 people in Nigeria. The recent DFID White Paper gives an overall commitment to create jobs which will benefit 7.5 million people in five countries. This leaves nearly 7 million beneficiaries to be reached through DFID's programmes in the other four countries in the next five years (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nepal and Yemen). We request, in response to this Report, a breakdown of the number of beneficiaries which DFID expects there to be in each of these four countries and further details about the types of employment it expects to generate through its programmes in each case.

41. DFID is also working to promote rural livelihoods, in its Promoting Pro-Poor Opportunities through Commodity and Service Markets programme (PrOpCom) which is providing £17.5 million for the period 2005-2010.[87] This programme supports agricultural producers and processors in the rice and soya value-chains to enhance their productivity and access to markets. We saw two examples of PrOpCom projects in Kano State. We met women rice processors in the village of Karfi. Rice is parboiled in Nigeria as part of the processing. Support from DFID had enabled the women to improve their product and the price they receive for it, as well as helping them to organise themselves into co-operatives which has facilitated their access to finance and the acquisition of business management skills. We also met the Karfi association of rice-millers. The PrOpCom programme had assisted them to improve their equipment, to focus on quality and to investigate better marketing techniques in an effort to add value to their product and compete with imported rice which is currently more popular than that produced domestically.


42. The Country Partnership Strategy highlights that Nigerian "business operators and particularly small scale enterprises are starved of funding for medium and longer term productive investments".[88] A World Bank study found that less than 5% of businesses had access to loans.[89] DFID is supporting the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access for the poor project (EFINA) with £9.2 million over the period 2007-2012. When we met the Chief Executive of EFINA, she highlighted the problem of financial exclusion in Nigeria. A survey showed that 74% of the population had never had a bank account (rising to 86% in rural areas) and only 7% had ever taken out a loan. EFINA's work is intended to contribute to reducing legal and regulatory barriers to financial services; gather data on the financial sector; and develop innovative financial services and products to increase access. The Minister told us that DFID hoped that the initiative would provide access to formal financial services to an additional 5 million people by 2011.[90]

43. When we visited Kenya earlier this year, we learned of the M-Pesa scheme, supported by DFID, which uses mobile telephone technology to provide banking services to previously excluded people. A recent study showed that income in households in Kenya using M-Pesa increased by between 5 and 30%.[91] Access to mobile phones in Nigeria is fairly widespread with 75% of the urban and 39% of the rural population having access to a prepaid mobile phone. 25 million Nigerians who have mobile phones do not have bank accounts. This suggests that mobile-banking facilities could have the potential significantly to increase financial inclusion in the country. The Minister told us that EFINA had the potential to fund similar schemes to the M-Pesa model in Nigeria.[92] The Head of DFID Nigeria explained:

    There are some technical, legal issues to be sorted out about who the bank is and who is holding the money once it is actually going through the mobile phone network which are going to take a little bit of working out, but it is certainly one of the ambitions of this programme to make it easier for people to remit monies through mobile phones. There are 60 million mobile phones […] That is a massive expansion over the last couple of years. There is huge potential there to use that network now for banking.[93]

44. Nigeria's future economic growth will require much greater access to finance and banking services for small and medium-sized business, and for individuals. The DFID- supported Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access for the Poor (EFINA) project has done valuable work to establish statistics on the existing levels of access. It now needs to move quickly to the next stage of devising schemes which will fill the gaps and help businesses and individuals to gain access to loans and financial services. We believe that EFINA should also seek to exploit the potential of banking services through mobile phone technology which has worked so effectively in other African countries.

Health services

45. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has ranked the Nigerian health system 187th out of 191 member states. It is estimated that 660,000 Nigerian children die every year of conditions that could be prevented. Life expectancy at birth was 47 years in 2007, unchanged since 2000.[94] DFID describes the health system as "fragmented and poorly coordinated". The DFID Minister identified three key problems:

  • responsibility for provision of services between federal, state and local government levels is not clearly defined;
  • uneven distribution of health workers, resulting in insufficient coverage in poorer and more remote areas;
  • weaknesses which affect the public sector as a whole in Nigeria in terms of planning, budgeting and accountability.[95]

The majority of public health facilities do not have sufficient drugs, equipment or staff. Most people use the poorly regulated informal and formal private sectors for their health care. [96] We were told during our visit that money is often wasted in building health clinics, because these are seen as tangible evidence of government activity, but that these often have no staff and therefore do not function.

46. Save the Children says that "DFID is playing a leading role in shaping the way health resources are used and allocated, issues of staffing and management, and service quality."[97] DFID has supported the Nigerian Government's efforts to improve health sector governance, service delivery and access to basic health services. The main vehicle for this has been the Partnership for Transforming Health Systems Strengthening programme (PATHS1), which provided £56 million in the period 2002-2008, and which will provide £148 million in 2008-2014 (PATHS2).[98] The Minister told us that DFID was working with five states on health care and planned to extend this to two more. The overall aim of the programme was to "help put in place the public financial management systems to get more investment in health care and frankly help to get a more sensible distribution and allocation of those resources that are already there."[99]

47. DFID has also provided £30 million for the Health Commodities and Equipment Procurement project for the period 2004-2009. Its assistance has included the provision of drugs and medical equipment to 1,000 health facilities in six States. DFID says that, by the end of the project in November 2009, a total of 1,468 facilities will have been supported, ensuring availability of drugs for 24 million outpatient consultations a year.[100]

48. We met the Federal Health Minister, appointed in December 2008, in Abuja. His priorities include better co-ordination between the different tiers of government responsible for health services; increased focus on primary health care; and the development of properly costed plans for health care at Federal and State level.[101] Under the new Country Partnership Strategy, DFID and its donor partners plan to support the Nigerian authorities to improve health care by increasing the emphasis on service delivery, rather than by funding particular disease programmes, and by increasing access to and use of health services by "the extreme poor and vulnerable".[102]

49. In Kano, we met the State Commissioner for Health (the State level minister). She told us that Kano was in the process of passing a bill through the State House of Assembly which would establish free provision of maternal and child health services. DFID is supporting the Kano State Government through PATHS2 to improve policy, planning and budgeting. It is also providing practical support, such as providing basic drugs at primary health care clinics. We visited one of these in the village of Garun Mallam where the medical director told us about the improvement in drug supplies and the consequent impact on people's willingness to use the health clinic.

50. DFID's support for Nigeria's health services has provided significant resources and made a real impact on services in the States where the programmes have operated. However, there is still a very long way to go until service provision is anywhere near adequate, even in the States where DFID is providing assistance. DFID's focus in the second stage of its Partnership for Transforming Health Systems Strengthening programme seems to us to be the correct one: as in other areas of public services, the emphasis must continue to be on building up the Nigerian authorities' own ability to plan, fund and deliver health care and improving the level of co-ordination between the different tiers of government. It is vital that those least able to pay for health services are given priority in measures to increase access. The new Country Partnership Strategy states that the poor and vulnerable will be a key focus for health service support from donors. We invite DFID to provide us with further information, in response to this Report, on how this targeted assistance will be delivered.


51. Nigeria accounts for over 25% of malaria cases in Africa and, together with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for 30% of global malaria deaths. DFID estimates that over 30% of child deaths and 11% of maternal deaths in Nigeria are caused by malaria. The annual loss to Nigeria's economy as a direct result of malaria infections has been estimated at $1 billion and it represents 40% of total reported disease at Nigerian public health facilities.[103] DFID is providing $50 million to Nigeria's National Malaria Programme (SuNMaP) which aims to provide two bed-nets for every Nigerian household, a total of 63 million nets by 2010, of which DFID's contribution will be 6 million, together with technical support for their distribution.[104] The rate of household mosquito net ownership in Nigeria was only 1.8% before the campaign began.[105] The programme is also being supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the World Bank, USAID and UNICEF.

52. Kano was the first State in Nigeria to begin the distribution of 2.1 million bed-nets, funded by DFID, in May 2009. The local traditional ruler whom we met in Garun Mallam village in the State told us that at least one of his six children had previously had malaria every month but that there had been no incidences since his family had been using the treated bed-nets. The second phase of DFID's campaign in Kano began in August 2009 and will involve the distribution of a further 2 million nets. It includes training volunteers to visit households to provide information on the campaign; publicity on bed-net use on the radio and through drama groups; and using community leaders to spread the message to local people. [106]

53. In our report on the 2008 DFID Annual Report, we welcomed the Department's support for the Global Action Plan on Malaria (GMAP), announced at the UN High Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals in September 2008. We agreed with DFID that its support for the GMAP was a "wonderful investment".[107] DFID's bed-net project in Nigeria is part of its overall commitment to the GMAP. Malaria is a major cause of child death in Nigeria and has a serious impact on economic output. Bed-nets are a cheap and effective way of preventing malaria and we commend DFID's significant support for the Nigerian National Malaria Programme. We recommend that DFID provide us with further details of progress on implementation of the programme in response to this Report.


54. Nigeria has 2% of the world's population but suffers 10% of global maternal deaths. This is a shocking statistic and reflects both the woeful state of health service provision in Nigeria and the low status of women in many parts of the country and sectors of society. In our 2008 report on Maternal Health, we identified the key factors behind the failure world-wide to make progress on the Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality:

  • Lack of skilled birth attendants-only 40% of births in sub-Saharan Africa are attended by a skilled worker;
  • Lack of emergency obstetric care including basic drugs and equipment;
  • Gender inequalities which prevent women gaining access to health services.

We highlighted that the overriding problem was a lack of political will to improve maternal health and reduce the unacceptable number of deaths. We also pointed out that, in addition to the women who die in childbirth, many others are left with permanent disabilities and ill health because of a lack of appropriate care and treatment.[108]

55. We learned from our discussions in northern Nigeria that the problem there is compounded by the local tradition of women giving birth completely alone, without even a traditional birth attendant or a relative present.[109] Given that many women have their first babies when they are still teenagers, and that health facilities are often too distant to reach in an emergency, this must be a terrifying prospect. This societal practice contributes to significant regional disparities in maternal mortality rates as shown in the table.

Maternal deaths per 100,000 live births
Nigeria national average
South-east zone
South-west zone
North-east zone
North-west zone
Kano State
Average for sub-Saharan Africa

Source: Ev 52, Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, Table 4 and para 20

56. Our 2008 Report identified that one of the most serious obstacles to improving maternal health outcomes is women's lack of control over their access to health services. Often very simple interventions, such as the provision of drugs, are enough to save women's lives, if only they can reach the centres where these are available. However, decisions on whether a woman can be taken to a health centre are frequently made by husbands or fathers who also control the household finances and are the ones responsible for arranging transport and procuring drugs and other necessary items. As Aboubacry Tall of Save the Children told us: "it is the man in the house who says just get on with it, there is nothing serious here, it happens, just do it, and then the worst outcome often results".[111] Women are too often powerless to secure the help they need, even where services are available.

57. Nigeria ranks 123rd out of 140 countries in the Gender Development Index. The DFID/World Bank Country Partnership Strategy says that "discrimination against women has contributed to persistent gender disparities in key social indicators".[112] Gareth Thomas acknowledged that "the question of the position of women […] is far more complex and the response needs to be much more broad ranging than just around tackling health issues specifically." One approach which has been shown to be effective is to raise the issue with religious and traditional leaders in communities which the Minister said "does on occasion begin to challenge some of the gender stereotypes in order to get support for better access to services."[113]

58. The potential of this approach was borne out by Aboubacry Tall of Save the Children who told us of some success they had had elsewhere in West Africa in tackling gender inequalities. Local community and religious leaders (imams and paramount chiefs) were encouraged to become advocates for changes in behaviour affecting women which might previously have been perceived as going against tradition or religion. Mr Tall believed that, in addition to changes in legislation, "the creation of those kinds of partnerships where the other person that people listen to, be they a father or a religious leader, a traditional leader, undertakes to participate in certain changes" could be crucial in achieving change which then had a multiplier effect.[114]

59. Specifically in relation to maternal health, Save the Children told us of an initiative in Gambia, where an older, respected woman within a community took on the role of monitoring all the pregnancies within a particular geographic area. If this woman identified specific warning signs in the mother's health, she took steps to ensure that the woman was taken to a health centre, including intervening with her husband or father where necessary. Mr Tall told us that "it was not costly in terms of money but it was brilliant in terms of understanding the local context and creating solutions that take advantage of the roles people generally play".[115]

60. Better maternal health in Nigeria will only be achieved if there is improvement in two areas: access to and quality of health services; and women's status in society. Changing negative attitudes to women requires a innovative and multi-dimensional approach. It is unacceptable that women's lives are being lost in childbirth because some societies fail to value them and allow them the access to the care which they need. DFID has a clear commitment to gender equality. Improving maternal health is an integral part of progress towards such equality. We accept that donors must act sensitively in raising these issues, and must take account of varying societal factors in different countries and in different regions of the same country, but maternal mortality rates, particularly in northern Nigeria, provide a clear indication that the most basic rights of many of the country's women are not being met. We recommend that DFID, in partnership with the Nigerian authorities, other donors and with organisations which have been successful in changing attitudes to women elsewhere in Africa, devote more resources and effort towards ensuring that real progress is made on reducing the number of women who die needlessly through lack of care. This would be a major justification for DFID's Nigeria programme, which is large in terms of the contribution made by the UK taxpayer but small in proportion to the scale of the challenge.


61. Legislation was passed in 2004 which provided for access to free, universal basic education in Nigeria: every child should receive nine years' good quality education between the ages of 6 and 15.[116] However, Nigeria remains off-track on both education MDGs (achieving universal basic education and eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education). Nigeria has the highest number of primary age children who are not enrolled in school of any country in the world, currently estimated at 8 million. The majority of these "out of school" children are girls The primary education net enrolment rate is around 63% which equates to just over 22 million children.[117]

62. DFID describes Nigeria's education system as facing "a multi-dimensional crisis". Access is limited and quality is poor; DFID research found that learning outcomes in Nigerian schools were worse than in many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. There are insufficient qualified teachers, especially in rural areas. Quality of teaching is often low. Many children leave primary school and junior secondary school without adequate literacy, numeracy and life skills. Teachers are often poorly supervised and are described as having "low motivation and inadequate incentives."[118] In addition, half of existing schools need some renovation and almost twice the existing number of classrooms would be needed to achieve universal basic education.[119]

63. During our visit to a school in Kano, we saw children sitting on the floor for lessons. They had few textbooks. There was one borehole to provide water and one toilet block for 1,800 pupils. Nevertheless there was greater demand for places than the school could meet. DFID officials told us that however poor the facilities seemed to us, they were better than in many other schools in the state. One in three schools has no access to water and fewer than half have electricity.[120]

64. From 2003 to 2008, DFID provided £18 million in support to the education sector through its Capacity for Universal Basic Education (CUBE) programme which focused on building the education governance capability of the Federal Government and selected States through technical assistance with policy, planning, information systems, and reform of the education inspection services. CUBE operated in Kano, Kaduna and Kwara States with the aim of developing prioritised and costed 10-year education sector plans, and assisting the three States to implement the World Bank's $65 million State Education Sector Project (SESP), which is supplying educational materials, improving infrastructure, and providing school grants.[121]

65. The successor programme to CUBE is the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN). ESSPIN has a budget of £106 million for the period to 2014, and operates in five States (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara and Lagos) and at Federal level. It will continue the focus on strengthening government capacity, but DFID says that it will also work with communities and civil society "to promote greater accountability and responsiveness in the delivery of services."[122] The Head of DFID Nigeria told us:

    […] through ESSPIN what we are trying to do is to recognise that the state has to be responsible for education, not DFID. We are trying to help them to build a system, to plan, to manage, to budget and to monitor, also looking at issues like for example teacher distribution and teacher quality.

ESSPIN will also be piloting a system of grants, available to 315 schools, to improve the quality of education and school facilities, including water and sanitation.[123]

66. DFID points out that data on education are extremely poor. The latest available information is for 2005 and is likely to be "heavily flawed". The proportions of children enrolled in government and non-government schools are not recorded.[124] DFID says that "reliable data on basic education are fundamental to planning and management in the sector." Through the ESSPIN programme, it is supporting the strengthening of education management information systems at Federal level and in the five States in which its education programme operates. From November 2009, States will be responsible for conducting an annual school census to collect coherent and comparable data. However, DFID expects it to take "a number of years until comprehensive, quality data is available across all States" particularly in areas where many children attend non-government schools, including Islamic schools in the north of the country. [125]

67. The school which we visited in Kano State was an Islamiyya school. 90% of children in Kano attend schools offering Islamic teaching but less than 50% attend State schools offering secular education. Islamiyya schools offer both Islamic and secular education through what is known as IQTE—Integrated Islamic, Qur'anic and Tsangaya Education. Kano State is prioritising IQTE to offer secular education to more children while still meeting the requirement of many families for their children to receive Islamic education.[126] DFID's ESSPIN Programme has been providing support to Kano State to help to develop its IQTE strategy. The aim is to encourage more schools to incorporate the core curriculum by offering the incentive of assistance with provision of teachers, books and materials. DFID plans to begin a pilot project later this year through the ESSPIN programme, offering support to a number of Islamiyya schools in Kano State, in partnership with the State government.[127] The Minister told us:

    We need to recognise that the Islamic schools do enjoy significant parental support. Our strategy to try and work with the state and with both types of schools, government schools as well as the Islamic schools, is the way in which we are likely to make most progress in terms of raising educational standards and getting people into school in the short term.[128]

The Head of DFID Nigeria told us that the school we visited in Kano is likely to be one of those which receives a grant under the pilot scheme.[129] VSO believed that DFID's involvement in Islamiyya schools was "a brave move" and reflected the need to be creative in trying to improve education in Nigeria.[130]

68. We support DFID's view that it is for the State governments in Nigeria to provide education, not DFID. However, the capacity of States to do this remains weak and DFID's Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) is providing much-needed assistance to increase government's ability to provide education. The support through ESSPIN for the integration of religious and secular education in Islamiyya schools in northern Nigeria is an innovative approach which we welcome. It is essential for the development of the country that all children have access to good quality education in subjects which will help them to find employment and improve their life chances. The impact of DFID's support for Islamiyya schools does, however, require careful monitoring. We recommend that DFID provide us with further information, in response to this Report, on the evaluation it plans to undertake on the effectiveness of the ESSPIN programme and in particular the Islamiyya element.


69. We explored with witnesses from Save the Children and VSO the reasons why so many girls in Nigeria are not in school, particularly in northern Nigeria. They believed the reasons were common to many developing countries: lack of adequate sanitation facilities in schools; lack of female teachers; and girls needing to travel long distances to school which their families see as putting them at risk.[131] Save the Children pointed out that the cost of education often represented as much as 16% of household expenditure and that the opportunity cost of sending girls in particular to school was a barrier to access as girls were often expected to work to contribute to household income.[132] Julia Ajayi of VSO expanded on this:

    [...] in the North there are areas where early marriage is part of the culture and girls are not expected to stay in school and some of them are not even starting school. Also, the aspirations for many girls from the family are that they will be married and therefore in terms of education, with limited funds to invest in children's education, the boys are seen as a better bet and more able to have a reward from the investment needed.[133]

The Country Partnership Strategy notes that, in the North West zone, which includes Kano State, the adult literacy rate for women is 20%. The median age of first marriage is 14.6 years.[134] (Early marriage usually results in early pregnancy which is a significant contributor to maternal deaths.)

70. DFID has provided £37 million to UNICEF to implement a Girls Education Project in six northern Nigerian states with the worst disparities between boys' and girls' enrolment in primary school. The project uses "a combination of advocacy, community mobilisation and provision of educational materials and infrastructure for selected schools". It also funds young women from rural areas to train as teachers, with the aim of tackling the shortage of women teachers and therefore making education for girls more attractive to Muslim families. A second three-year phase of the project began in July 2008. The project is co-financed by the State governments.[135] The Minister told us that there had been a 15% increase in girls' enrolment in schools where the programme operated.[136] Girls' education in northern Nigeria is also given particular focus in the new Country Partnership Strategy.[137]

71. Aboubacry Tall of Save the Children believed that Islamiyya schools could help to tackle some of the obstacles to more girls attending school: they tended to be based in local communities so avoided the problem of girls travelling long distances; and the integration of religious and secular education might attract parents who would not wish their daughters to be educated solely in secular subjects.[138]

72. The disparity between the number of boys and girls in school, particularly in northern Nigeria, is a clear indication of gender inequality. UNICEF's Girls Education Project, supported by DFID, has demonstrated that resistance to sending girls to school can be overcome if the barriers are addressed in a sensitive way. We recommend that DFID continue its support for UNICEF's work and seek to build on this where it has proved effective in increasing girls' enrolment rates.

61   Country Partnership Strategy 2005-09, Annex 2, para 21 Back

62   "A long embrace with the dark", Financial Times, 21 July 2009 Back

63   Ev 64 Back

64   Seventh Report, Session 2008-09, Urbanisation and Poverty, HC 511-I, paras 92-98  Back

65   Ev 96 Back

66   Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, para 26 Back

67   "A long embrace with the dark", Financial Times, 21 July 2009 Back

68   World Bank project appraisal for the Nigeria Electricity and Gas Improvement Project, May 2009, available on the World Bank website at www.worldbank.org Back

69   Q 116; Ev 67 Back

70   See information on the World Bank Nigeria Electricity and Gas Improvement Project on the World Bank website at www.worldbank.org/ Back

71   Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, para 27 Back

72   MDGs Policy Brief, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals, p 6 Back

73   Country Partnership Strategy 2009-2013, Executive Summary, para 1; GEMS Technical Annex, para 1.1 Back

74   Eliminating World Poverty: Building our Common Future, DFID, July 2009, Cm 7656, para 4.17 Back

75   GEMS Technical Annex, para 1.1 Back

76   GEMS Technical Annex, para 1.1 Back

77   GEMS Technical Annex, para 1.1; Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, para 26 Back

78   GEMS Technical Annex, para 3.2 Back

79   Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, paras 27 and 30 Back

80   GEMS Technical Annex, para 3.2 Back

81   Ev 67 Back

82   GEMS Technical Annex para 1.3 Back

83   Q 137 Back

84   Q 140; GEMS Technical Annex (unprinted paper) Back

85   Eliminating World Poverty: Building our Common Future, DFID, July 2009, Cm 7656, para 4.32. The five countries are: Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nepal, Nigeria, and Yemen. Back

86   Q 137 Back

87   Ev 67 Back

88   Country Partnership Strategy 2005-09, para 45 Back

89   Nigeria Investment Climate Assessment, World Bank, 2008; see also GEMS Technical Annex, para 1.1 Back

90   Q 142 Back

91   "The power of mobile money", Economist, 26 September 2009 Back

92   Q 143 Back

93   Q 144 Back

94   World Bank country data profile, available on the World Bank website at www.worldbank.org Back

95   Q 119 Back

96   Ev 61 Back

97   Ev 80 Back

98   Ev 62 Back

99   Q 119 Back

100   Ev 62 Back

101   Ev 62 and discussions during the Committee's visit Back

102   Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, Executive Summary, para 9 Back

103   Ev 106; DFID press release, 31 August 2009, "UK drive to rid Nigeria of malaria". Back

104   Ev 62 Back

105   Ev 106 Back

106   DFID press release, 31 August 2009, "UK drive to rid Nigeria of malaria". Back

107   Second Report of Session 2008-09, DFID Annual Report 2008, HC 220-I, paras 15-20 Back

108   Fifth Report of Session 2007-08, Maternal Health, HC 66-I, Summary Back

109   See also Q 124 Back

110   World Bank statistics from the Global Monitoring Report 2009 Back

111   Q 73 Back

112   Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, para 20 Back

113   Q 128 Back

114   Q 67 Back

115   Q 73 Back

116   Ev 85 Back

117   Ev 60 Back

118   Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, para 35 Back

119   Ev 61 Back

120   Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, para 35 Back

121   Ev 61 Back

122   Ev 61 Back

123   Qq 131 and 133; Ev 61 Back

124   Ev 85 Back

125   Ev 85 Back

126   Ev 106 Back

127   Ev 106 Back

128   Q 132 Back

129   Q 131 Back

130   Q 88 Back

131   Q 88 Back

132   Ev 81 and Q 89 Back

133   Q 86 Back

134   Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, para 20 Back

135   Ev 61; see also DFID Factsheet on Girls Education, June 2009 Back

136   Q 131; see also DFID Factsheet on Girls Education, June 2009 Back

137   Country Partnership Strategy 2009-13, Executive Summary, para 9 Back

138   Q 88 Back

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