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 more than 190 million. It is also the continent's largest economy. Nigeria is one of the world's biggest oil producers. 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 158th out of 189 countries. The West African country has now taken over from India as the country with the largest number of people in extreme poverty worldwide.

Nigeria is facing social, ethnic, religious and political conflicts. Long phases of authoritarian military rule have contributed to domestic instability. In addition to widespread poverty, major challenges for policymakers include governance deficits, high levels of corruption, low economic growth, a run-down infrastructure, a tense security situation and regular terrorist attacks.

Development cooperation

Nigeria is one of the countries that Germany supports through thematic and regional programmes. Development cooperation with Nigeria focuses on sustainable economic development (including job creation and vocational training) and on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Gate in the Nigerian capital Abuja

Deficits in the area of democracy and the rule of law Internal link

Since gaining independence 60 years ago, Nigeria has experienced numerous political crises. After three decades of military rule, a process of democratisation began in 1999.

Internally displaced persons who fled from Boko Haram in the eastern Nigerian city of Yola

Conflict in many parts of the country Internal link

Pronounced social inequality and the lack of opportunities are causing tensions within society and contribute to the recurrent violent conflicts that Nigeria has been experiencing.

Street scene in Sokoto, Nigeria

Pervasive poverty and corruption Internal link

Even though the Nigerian government generates high revenues from the raw materials industry and has undertaken its first economic policy reforms, it has so far not been able to achieve tangible improvements for the people.

Oil and fuel vendors in a village in the Niger delta

High dependency on oil Internal link

Nigeria's economy is heavily dominated by the oil and gas sector. While the sector generates high levels of income for the country, it makes government revenue highly dependent on oil prices. Moreover, very few new jobs emerge in the sector.

German development cooperation with Nigeria

German Development Minister Gerd Müller discusses the consequences of oil pollution in the region around Port Harcourt with village elders (February 2020)

German Development Minister Gerd Müller discusses the consequences of oil pollution in the region around Port Harcourt with village elders (February 2020)

German Development Minister Gerd Müller discusses the consequences of oil pollution in the region around Port Harcourt with village elders (February 2020)

Development cooperation between Nigeria and Germany dates back to the country's independence in 1960. During the military dictatorship of Sani Abacha (1993 to 1998), bilateral cooperation was more or less 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. In 2017, Germany committed a total of 72.1 million euros for development cooperation programmes.

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

  • Sustainable economic development
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency

The BMZ also supports an immunisation programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to eradicate polio. The support focuses on vaccination campaigns in the north.

Special initiatives

A Green Innovation Centre was set up in Nigeria with funding from the "One World – No Hunger" initiative. It supports the reform of the agricultural sector, with a special focus on food security.

The lack of education and job opportunities and longer-term prospects in general is causing many young Nigerians to leave the country. With funding from the German Development Ministry (BMZ), migration advice centres have therefore been set up in Lagos, Abuja and Benin City. At the centres, people receive information and advice, learn about alternatives to migration and get assistance in finding a job, which gives them prospects of a viable future in their own country.

The centres also provide assistance to refugees and migrants who are returning to Nigeria from Germany. As part of its Returning to New Opportunities programme, the BMZ has increased its funding for vocational training and employment promotion programmes in Nigeria.

Workers at a small rice mill in Jega, Nigeria

Access to loans and to vocational training Internal link

Successful poverty reduction requires, among other things, a significant expansion of job and income opportunities for the country's growing population. However, the private sector, which could provide a great many jobs, is still underdeveloped. German development cooperation therefore focuses on creating a better environment for private sector activities.

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

Expanding the use of solar energy Internal link

Despite much investment, many parts of Nigeria have power for only a few hours a day. Nearly 60 per cent of rural people 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 so as to develop a resource-friendly and environmentally sound electricity supply.