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Government negotiations Germany supports Nigeria's efforts for sustainable growth
Development Minister Svenja Schulze said: “Each cent spent on vocational training and the development of new enterprises is well-invested money, because it benefits Nigeria in many ways: new jobs, less poverty and more opportunities for people to take control of their lives. Many people in Africa's most populous country have no job, but it is women in particular who suffer from a lack of education, lack of job prospects, and unemployment. Giving them access to the labour market has major benefits – not just for the women themselves but for society as a whole, because family incomes rise, which contributes to economic growth.”
Nigeria, with a population of more than 200 million, is Africa's largest economy. The UN estimates that its population will double by 2050. While the country's economy is growing constantly by about two per cent a year, this growth is not sufficient – in view of the population growth rate of 2.7 per cent – to generate enough jobs for young people, and especially for women. This is why Germany is engaged in development cooperation with Nigeria in the field of income-generating measures. The focus is on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
For example, a development bank has been set up with German support to provide investment loans for such enterprises, based on the model of Germany's KfW bank (with support for this programme since 2015 totalling over 150 million euros). Institutions of this type which provide support to smaller enterprises are rare in Nigeria, even though they are known to be engines of economic growth in many places. The new development bank has also established the nation's first green credit line. It provides companies with resources for investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. This funding helps enterprises to grow. Thanks to German support, MSMEs in a variety of industries were able to create about 120,000 jobs last year.
A similar approach has been used in the Nigerian-German programmes of development cooperation in the agricultural sector (for which a new commitment of about 28 million euros has been made). Since 2017, some 82,000 smallholders have received support in the form of agricultural inputs, training and loans to help them make their farms more productive and improve their market access. This is leading to improvements in agricultural value chains for the benefit of small farmers, which often lends new impetus to the local economy. It can also help to enhance resilience against external shocks such as the impact of the pandemic, extreme weather events caused by climate change, and the consequences of Russia's war of aggression, which has led to price hikes in Nigeria, too.
In order to improve the performance of Nigeria's economy as a whole and create new opportunities for women, Germany's development cooperation with the country puts a special focus on supporting vocational training and employment for women. Under the projects geared towards rural people, some 18,600 women have been given access to new sources of income. Vocational training programmes also give participants a chance to move on to employment. The programmes target young people, with a special focus on women. By the end of 2021, vocational training had been provided for more than 167,000 people, half of them women.
In Nigeria, whether people have a chance to be economically successful often depends, not least, on their chances of making their own choices in life. Many women do not have this option, for instance because they have no access to contraceptives or are exposed to violence. That is why the BMZ has included programmes in its portfolio to support family planning and the prevention of violence (with support totalling 17 million euros). In line with the feminist development policy pursued by the Ministry, these programmes empower women and help to prevent gender-based violence. The education programmes also target men, with a view to changing people's way of thinking. An equally important component is the inclusion of religious and traditional leaders in local programmes. The programme is being implemented in five states in northern Nigeria.
Another obstacle to Nigeria's economic development is the inadequate energy supply in many parts of the country. According to World Bank data, about half of Nigeria's people are not connected to the public grid. Germany therefore also has programmes with Nigeria for the expansion of affordable, resource-friendly renewable energy. With support under German development cooperation, nearly 39,000 people in rural regions have been given access to solar power. There are 21 village mini-grids in 16 Nigerian states, which are providing power for some 8,000 households. This German support contributes to the implementation of Nigeria's Energy Transition Plan, which the government adopted in February 2022. Its targets include universal access to energy for all Nigerians by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.