DFID’s programme in Nigeria Contents


1.Nigeria experienced an unprecedented development in its history in 2015. Despite negative forecasting, the victory of Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria’s presidential elections saw the nation’s first ever democratic and peaceful transfer of power to an opposition candidate. Since its return to civilian rule in 1999, Nigeria has experienced strong economic growth. Over the last decade, Nigeria has seen its economy grow by 5% or more each year. A rebasing of its GDP saw the figure reach £307.6 billion in 2013, making Nigeria the largest economy in Africa. Nigeria has, since the oil boom of the 1970s, been heavily dependent on its oil and gas sector for growth but is slowly diversifying. Utilities, manufacturing and construction were its fastest growing sectors over 2010–13, leading some commentators to suggest Nigeria is no longer just a petro-economy. Nigeria’s economic potential is considerable because of the size of its domestic market, its geographical position and its human and natural resources. With over 170 million people, not only is Nigeria Africa’s most populated country, it is also very youthful with almost half its residents aged 14 and below,2 creating the potential for a demographic dividend.3

2.Despite these figures, population growth of nearly 3% per year along with a regionally polarised and non-inclusive pattern of growth has led to slower increases in living standards relative to previous years. 120m Nigerians still live below or only just above the poverty line.4 More than 60% of those living in poverty are situated in the North while the poverty rate in rural areas is over three times greater than in urban centres.5 As a result, inequality has increased with the Gini coefficient (a common measure of income inequality) going from 0.40 in 2004 to 0.45 in 2013.6

3.Nigeria is one of DFID’s top five bilateral programmes and the second largest in Africa behind Ethiopia.7 DFID works across the country with Federal and State Governments and its programme implementers to assist with development in Nigeria. DFID provides no financial aid to the Government of Nigeria because of fiduciary risk and to avoid substituting Nigerian resources.8 Aid represents less than 1% of its GDP compared to a sub-Saharan African average of 10%. Rather, DFID describes the purpose of its programme in Nigeria as ensuring “Nigeria is able to deploy its own resources effectively towards the delivery of services.”9 In 2015–2016, 110 DFID Nigeria staff across four offices, situated in Abuja, Enugu, Kano and Lagos, helped to deliver a programme valued at nearly £220m.10 DFID focuses its efforts in eight out of 36 states and now spends more than 60% of its allocated funds in six northern states.11

4.The three main pillars of the current Operational Plan for DFID Nigeria for 2011–16 are:

Fig 1: DFID funding in Nigeria by sector

Water: 4.18%, Business, 4.41%, Education 15.41%, Other 19.01%, Health 22.46%, Government and Civil Society 34.53%

Source: DFID, Development Tracker

As part of the DFID Bilateral Aid Review, DFID is currently undertaking a review of its strategy for Nigeria, which will result in a new five-year Operational Plan for DFID Nigeria.

5.Our inquiry follows on from a previous International Development Committee inquiry into “DFID’s programme in Nigeria” published on 23 October 2009.13 In 2009–10, DFID’s budget for Nigeria was £120 million.14 Since then, DFID has scaled up its Nigeria programme to £244 million in 2015–16 in line with the UK Government’s previous commitment to spend 30% of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in fragile and conflict-affected states.15 It is in this context we decided to hold an inquiry into DFID’s programme in Nigeria. We launched our inquiry on 16 December 2015 and called for written submissions on the following issues:

6.We visited Nigeria from 28 February to 3 March 2016. We went first to Lagos, then to Kano and ended our visit in Abuja. We met State and Federal Ministers and officials, DFID staff, NGOs 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. 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.

Fig 2: International Development Committee’s visit to Nigeria

Aduja: As the seat of the Federal Government, we met with key officials in Aduja and learned more abouts DFID's efforts to improve the structures and processes of governance. We also learned more about DFID's country-wide strategy. Lagos: With Lagos being the commercial hub of Nigeria and the country's richest state, we explored some of DFID's programmes that are attempting to stimulate inclusive economic growth. Kano: DFID spends more than 60% of its funding in six northern states, with Kano serving as its base in the region. We visited schools and a hospital, saw first-hand the security challenges and heard from women and girls about the issues they face.


Visit activities


Examples of DFID Support to this sector


- Visit to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

- Meeting with Senate President

Abuja & Kano

Deepening Democracy in Nigeria (DDiN1) [£35m]; Justice for All (J4A) [£52m];Voices for Change (V4C) [£41m]

- Meeting with the Vice President

- Meeting with Speaker of the House of Representatives

- Roundtable with civil society on building a more accountable government

- Meeting with the Governor of Kano State

Basic services

- Visit to low-cost private school

- Visits to public primary schools in both Lagos and Kano

Lagos & Kano

Education Sector Support in Nigeria (ESSPIN) [£140m]; Girls’ Education Project (GEP3) [£107m]; Women for Health (W4H) [£29m]

- Visit to integrated Quranic school

- Visit to general hospital

- Visit to nursing and midwifery college

- Meetings with DFID partners including UNICEF, Malaria Consortium and Sightsavers

Economic Development

- Meeting with DFID project on improving access to finance


Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF2) [£106m]; Financial Sector Development Programme (EFInA) [£39m]; Growth and Employment in States Programme (GEMS) [£91m]

- Visit to the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL)

- Visit to the Mile 12 Market

Conflict and fragility

- Visit to Kuchingoro camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs)

- Dinner discussion with young girls supported by DFID programmes

Abuja & Kano

Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) [£36m]; Life Saving Humanitarian Support in Northeast Nigeria [£34m]

- Conflict briefing by UK Mission Officials

- Attending a rally with ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaigners

7.This Report has used the evidence received, both in writing and across three oral evidence sessions:

We are grateful to all those that submitted oral and written evidence which has proved invaluable in helping to generate a list of recommendations we believe are vital for DFID to ensure its programme in Nigeria increases in effectiveness and efficiency.

2 UN Data, Nigeria (accessed 20 July 2016)

3 Whereby the labour force temporarily grows more rapidly than the population dependent on it, freeing up resources for investment in economic development and family welfare.

4 DFID (NIG0011) p 1

5 World Bank, Nigeria Economic Report (July 2014), p 17

7 DFID, ‘Development Tracker,’ accessed 20 July 2016

8 DFID, Nigeria Operational Plan 2011–2016 (December 2014)

9 DFID (NIG0011), p 2

10 DFID (NIG0011), p 2

11 DFID (NIG0011), p 2

13 International Development Committee, Eighth Report of Session 2008–09, DFID’s Programme in Nigeria, HC 840–I

14 International Development Committee, Eighth Report of Session 2008–09, DFID’s Programme in Nigeria, HC 840–I

15 HM Treasury and Department for International Development, UK aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest (November 2015)

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25 July 2016