“Nigeria has experienced growth in the recent past and now is Africa’s largest economy. However, this growth has not translated in poverty reduction and reduced inequalities” said new Head of the United Nations System and UNDP Resident Representative, Fatma Samoura during a breakfast meeting with the media.
During the meeting attended by media representatives drawn from across the country, Ms. Samoura emphasised that for the gains made to be sustained, the country needed to urgently look at ways of expanding its sources of growth. She stated as Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria needed to address inequalities that continue to exist noting that growth that is not inclusive is not sustainable.
“At UNDP, we believe that expanding the sources of growth and ensuring that this growth is pro-poor remain key elements necessary for reducing the levels of poverty in Nigeria.” Ms. Samoura said.
UNDP is already providing strategic support to the Government of Nigeria in two key areas that will help expand this growth; – through support to interventions aimed at transforming the country’s agricultural sector; and strengthening the country’s solid minerals sector.
“UNDP is working with both the Federal and State governments because we believe that these two sectors have great potential to drive growth further.”
In collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Africa Facility for Inclusive Markets of the UNDP Regional Centre, UNDP will next month be launching a project on ‘Agricultural Supplier Development Programme (ASDP).
This new project will create employment opportunities, and increase income and output for rural farmers. It will also strengthen the commodity supply chains by narrowing the gaps between farmers and retailers.
Samoura stated that a co-operation framework for strengthening the solid minerals sector between the Ministry of Solid Minerals and UNDP Nigeria is being developed.
“This framework is aimed at exploring avenues for increasing the production of minerals to generate revenue for the country as well as create employment opportunities for the million unemployed Nigerians.” She said.
She promised that the UNDP will continue to support the government in strengthening the country’s democratic governance and help build on the successes scored in the past, including the successful 2015 elections. Focus will be placed on further strengthening of the electoral process, provision of policy support, and enhancement of transparency in the public sector.
“For the country to succeed in preventing corruption from taking place, the present political will need to be supported by strong institutions.” UNDP will therefore continue providing the support to the Government to ensure it succeeds in its fight against corruption.
“We will continue working closely with the media, civil society organisations and strengthen our partnership with the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, the National Assembly and other Anti-Corruption Agencies in order to achieve a culture of integrity in the country… The role of the media in shaping public opinion and advocating for transparent and accountable leadership cannot be over-emphasised.” Ms. Samoura stated.