Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation. In spite of its oil wealth, about two-thirds of its estimated 160 million population lives on less than 1 US dollar per day. Long periods of military misrule, mismanagement of resources and poor governance led to widespread poverty and low socio-economic indicators. However, since the reintroduction of democracy in 1999, Nigeria is today a positive example of an emerging democracy, showing clear progress towards better governance and respect for human rights etc. Improved peace and security, the bolstering of governance and human rights and boosting trade and regional integration, are the targets of EU-Nigeria cooperation.
Nigeria’s economic growth has averaged about 7.4% annually over the past decade. In spite of oil’s dominance, it is the non-oil sector that is driving growth, agriculture now accounting for 35.2% of GDP. Sustainable expansion of agriculture is expected to play a big part in unleashing inclusive economic growth.
Nigeria has never been an aid-dependent country. Its own financial resources from oil and gas exports far outweigh those that can be provided by donors. However, external aid could play a role in enabling the authorities to make better use of their own resources, particularly by supporting the government's initiatives to improve governance. Nigeria has undertaken important reforms in public financial management, in particular to fight corruption.
Politically, the country is considered to be an emerging democracy. However, it faces an Islamist insurgency – Boko Haram – in the North and renewed instability in the Niger Delta.
The West African country is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on universal primary education, greater gender equality and women’s empowerment. Other MDGs are further from reach: poverty reduction, child mortality and maternal health.
Over the past decade, the profile of EU-Nigeria cooperation has been steadily increasing. It is grounded in the "EU-Nigeria Joint Way Forward " agreed between the EU and Nigeria in 2009. This outlines the priorities for bilateral EU-Nigeria cooperation, particularly those of the EU-Nigeria Country Strategy Paper and National Indicative Programme 2008-2013.
The 10th EDF programme for Nigeria for the period 2008-13 was launched in November 2009. The new development cooperation strategy, jointly drawn up with the Federal Republic of Nigeria, allocates €677 million for the period 2008-13 to fund programmes and projects in three focal areas:
- peace and security;
- governance and human rights;
- trade and regional integration.
The joint cooperation strategy targets poverty alleviation (Nigeria ranking 156/187 in the 2011 UN Human Development index), governance and development in the Niger Delta region. The cooperation strategy focuses on governance reforms (at all three levels of government), the fight against corruption, migration and trafficking and tackling organised crime, and bringing about reforms of the justice sector. It also encourages improved oversight and monitoring capacity of non-state actors and the mass media. Trade, regional integration and energy security all receive new impetus with a view to improving Nigeria’s competitiveness, its meaningful participation in regional integration and trade to assist the country’s integration into the world economy. Environment and climate change are also among the new areas of cooperation under the 10th EDF.
For further details on projects and programmes in Nigeria funded from the European Development Fund (EDF) and the general budget of the EU, visit the website of the Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria.