Women threshing rice in Sunu, Nigeria

Nigeria Extreme poverty despite vast raw materials

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with a population of about 206 million. It is also the continent's largest economy. Nigeria is one of the world's biggest oil producers.

Straight to
Gate in the Nigerian capital Abuja

However, even though the government has been pursuing economic reforms, it has not yet succeeded in using the country's wealth of raw materials to foster economic and social development. In the latest Human Development Index (HDI), Nigeria ranks 163rd out of 191 countries.

Nigeria is facing social, ethnic, religious and political conflicts. After long phases of authoritarian military rule, Nigeria returned to democracy, albeit with flawed election processes, in 1999.

Key issues on the agenda of the current government continue to be security, economic diversification, and the fight against pervasive corruption. In addition to widespread poverty, major challenges include governance deficits, corruption, the economic crisis, the tense security situation and terrorist attacks.

German development cooperation with Nigeria

Participants of the German-Nigerian government negotiations in Berlin

Development cooperation between Nigeria and Germany began in 1959. During the military dictatorship of Sani Abacha (1993 to 1998), bilateral cooperation was suspended. Since the country's return to democracy in 1999, German development cooperation has focused on supporting the reform efforts of the government with a view to reducing poverty, achieving economic growth and fostering regional stability.

At the government negotiations in October 2021, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) committed a total of 101.09 million euros in support for its partner country. This comprises 39.76 million euros for bilateral Financial and Technical Cooperation. 21.33 million euros will be provided through the special initiatives “Transformation of Agricultural and Food Systems” and “Displaced Persons and Host Countries”. 40 million euros will go towards projects under transitional development assistance.

Pupils at a state secondary school in Abeokuta, Nigeria

Pupils at a state secondary school in Abeokuta, Nigeria

Pupils at a state secondary school in Abeokuta, Nigeria

Nigerian-German development cooperation focuses on the following core areas:

  • Training and sustainable growth for decent jobs
    Areas of intervention: technical and vocational education and training, private sector and financial sector development, including the initiative areas “Digicenters and digital technology” and “Returning to New Opportunities”
  • Sustainable agriculture and food systems
    Areas of intervention: rural development, agriculture
  • Responsibility for our planet – climate and energy
    Area of intervention: renewable energy and energy efficiency

Other activities

Islamist terrorism, gang crime and conflicts over resources are leading to displacement, lack of security and poverty in Nigeria. In addition to its involvement in the core areas mentioned above, the BMZ therefore assists Nigeria in peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Activities relate to conflict transformation, job creation, better prospects for the people, and the reconstruction and development of social infrastructure. The focus is on internally displaced people in the north-eastern part of the country and on communities there that are hosting large numbers of displaced persons.

The BMZ also supports efforts undertaken by governmental and civil society institutions to fight corruption and facilitate transparent management of government funding.

Moreover, Germany supports activities in the field of reproductive health and family planning.

Emergency COVID-19 Support Programme

Nigeria is one of the countries in Africa that are hardest hit by COVID-19. The pandemic has revealed the fact that the country's social and health systems cannot cope with major challenges. As part of its Emergency COVID-19 Support Programme, the BMZ supports Nigeria's national COVID-19 action plan and the expansion of vocational training programmes to the health sector. Support is also provided to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises through loan programmes and through efforts to protect existing jobs.

Workers at a small rice mill in Jega, Nigeria

Core area “Training and sustainable growth for decent jobs” Access to loans and vocational training Internal link

Successful poverty reduction in Nigeria requires, among other things, a significant expansion of job and income opportunities for the country's growing, young population (median age is about 18 years).

Green Innovation Centre Nigeria: Workshop where trainers learn, among other things, how far apart maize plants should be for optimal thriving.

Core area “Sustainable agriculture and food systems” Modernising the agricultural sector and creating new jobs Internal link

The government under President Muhammadu Buhari wants to reduce the high level of unemployment (which is particularly high in rural areas). One avenue pursued by the government towards that end is the expansion and modernisation of the agricultural sector.

Solar-powered water reservoir in Ikot Ada Udo in the Niger delta

Core area “Responsibility for our planet – climate and energy” Expanding the use of solar energy Internal link

About three quarters of rural people in Nigeria are not connected to the grid but rely on environmentally harmful, expensive diesel generators for their power. Germany supports the Nigerian government in boosting investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Current situation

Political situation
Gate in the Nigerian capital Abuja
Security situation
Internally displaced persons who fled from Boko Haram in the eastern Nigerian city of Yola
Social situation
Street scene in Sokoto, Nigeria
Economic situation
Oil and fuel vendors in a village in the Niger delta