This is a House of Commons Committee report, with recommendations to government. The Government has two months to respond.
Date Published: 29 April 2022
Nigeria is one of the most important countries for the future of the UK. With a diaspora population of some 200,000 it is one of Britain’s largest foreign-born groups and that is without counting those with strong hereditary connections to the country. Nigeria’s projected growth in coming years, increasing economic capabilities and cultural weight—not just in Africa—make it a major partner that must be seen as a principal strategic partner of the UK. We recognise that the Integrated Review is correct in its identification of Nigeria as being key to UK policy in Africa but we see it as more important than a merely regional partner. Nigeria should be seen for what it soon will be—a global partner.
The IR has set out four priorities:
However, the UK Government has work to do to articulate its priorities and approach to the citizens, NGOs, companies and governments of the UK and Nigeria. Such articulation is necessary to demonstrate the importance the UK places on its relationship with Nigeria; to maximise the effective delivery of programmes; and aid the scrutiny of policy. We recommend that the FCDO develop and publish an integrated delivery plan for Nigeria, similar to that produced in Pakistan, detailing how the aspirations of the Integrated Review will be implemented in Nigeria. There should be realistic and measurable objectives for the UK’s engagement with Nigeria over the next five to ten years with clear articulation of the activities and policies, the resources required, and the Government departments responsible for delivering them.
We recommend that the Government make the most of the enthusiasm for engagement with policy makers amongst the Nigerian community in the UK to test various ways of involving diaspora groups in diplomacy.
As the UK looks to sustain its strategic advantage in science and technology, Nigeria is likely to be an increasingly important partner. We recommend the FCDO ensures that capacity building support is provided to the Nigerian legal system and legal services for business in Nigeria. It should also pilot a skills development programme within the Information and Communication Technology sector and the civil service. This programme would aim to address skills shortages in both Nigeria as well as training workers for the UK sector. Part of creating an enabling environment for the Nigerian tech sector involves setting out a clear and coherent approach (including how it will be funded) to the UK’s partnership with Nigeria on research and training for science and technology. We recommend that part of this support comes in the form of support for the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub.
As the UK Government aims to strengthen security at home and abroad it should continue highly focused support to the Nigerian military in tackling Islamist groups and armed organised criminal groups whilst encouraging adherence to the highest standards of human rights.
The UK and Nigerian Governments share a determination to increase resilience in the face of climate change and habitat loss. We call on the FCDO to champion Nigerian-led international climate initiatives with a broader holistic vision, such as the Great Green Wall, contributing wherever the UK can add value. In adopting an appropriate posture as the UK Government seeks to mobilise public and private sector investment in climate adaptation and mitigation, we recommend the FCDO conduct a review of the support for the various Development Finance Institutions by the UK Government as well as of their methodologies and mandates. The FCDO should also work with the Nigerian Government in making a renewed effort to facilitate UK private sector financial support of low carbon ventures, such as renewable power solutions and the establishment of the Nigerian green tech sector.
As the Government looks to help define the international global order of the future, there should be a renewed focus on aspects of Nigerian culture that represent shared values. We recommend the FCDO champion support for the development of the Afrobeats genre and other Nigerian creative arts. Ring-fencing funding for the British Council and World Service for programming demonstrates synergy with the aspirations of the Integrated Review. Finally, we recommend the FCDO place the Commonwealth at the front and centre of their multilateral approach to diplomacy, trade and cultural exchange with regard to Nigeria.