With a population of about 170 million, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa— with one fifth of all sub-Saharan Africans living within its borders.
Endowed with good access to skills, capital, technology, fertile land, oil and mineral resources, Nigeria has enormous potential. The country's return to civilian government in 1999, followed by sound fiscal policy decisions, has brought economic stability and real gains in rural incomes. Nigeria is Africa's largest economy and its strategic geographic location makes its stability important to the region.
Yet the challenges Nigeria faces are staggering: the country ranks 152 out of 187 countries on the United Nations 2014 human development index, and more than three out of five Nigerians live on less than $1.25/day. The same number is under 24 years of age. Nigerians, particularly women and children, experience some of the worst threats to health in Africa. Despite having only two percent of the world’s population, Nigeria accounts for 10 percent of global maternal mortality. One in six children born in Nigeria will not reach his or her fifth birthday, and the country has the second-highest rate of newborn deaths worldwide. The maternal mortality rate is 630 deaths per 100,000 live births; neonatal mortality is 39 deaths per 1,000 live births; infant mortality is 78 deaths per 1,000 live births; and out of 1,000 children under the age of five, 124 die. Nigeria also has low immunization coverage and is one of the three remaining endemic countries for polio. Access to basic public services is grossly inadequate to meet the needs of the greater part of the population. Nigeria is a young and relatively stable democracy. Its public institutions are still fragile and face the challenge of encouraging unity in a country divided along lines of ethnicity, religion, regionalism and class—each with vastly opposing interests.
Instability and insecurity are major risk factors, and the country has suffered from significant violence since 2010. Attacks over the past four years, largely led by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, have occurred in many locations but particularly in the north-east of the country. Nearly half of the population in the north-east has been affected by the ongoing Boko Haram violence. Nigeria is also extremely vulnerable to the impact of climate change including rising sea levels, and changing seasons and rain patterns, which affect agriculture and increase desertification. Three out of four rural Nigerians depend on natural resources for their livelihood.
Canada draws on the priorities identified in the President of Nigeria's Seven Point Agenda, Vision 20: 2020 (PDF 8 MB, 251 pages) and state-level strategies, to guide its international development programming in Nigeria. Canada works closely with Nigeria to improve health outcomes for mothers, newborns and children—Nigeria is among Canada’s Muskoka initiative priority countries—and to help eradicate polio. Likewise, the need for meaningful, sustainable employment, especially for youth, is a critical issue and is addressed through the program’s work on sustainable economic growth where some sectors, notably in agriculture, forestry and mining, hold significant potential but are currently underdeveloped. Canada has a geographic focus in two focal states: Cross River and Bauchi.
Children and youth, including maternal, newborn and child health
The program’s main area of programming falls under DFATD’s thematic priority of securing the future of children and youth, with a focus on improving health systems to meet the needs of mothers, newborns and children. Canada supports Nigeria to expand the coverage of newborn, maternal and child health services. Canada is helping Nigeria increase child survival by improving primary health care systems at the local level and reducing preventable childhood diseases. This includes support to enhance the skills and knowledge of front line community health workers.
Selected examples of expected results
- Strengthened health systems and improved service delivery for maternal, newborn and child health
- Reduced burden of diseases affecting mothers and children
Canada is working with Nigerian organizations and government bodies to improve skills and increase business opportunities for the Nigerian workforce in agriculture, forestry and mining to address the need for meaningful, sustainable employment, especially for youth. These are key to long-term sustainable economic growth.
Selected examples of expected results
- Increased employment and business opportunities in areas such as agriculture, forestry and mining
- Increased mining benefits for the local population
Progress on Aid Effectiveness
Nigeria adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages). Donors are working together to harmonize aid programs and align them with local priorities.
Canada supports efforts to improve harmonization, information and accountability in the Nigerian health sector, and signed the 2010 Health Sector Compact, initiated by the International Health Partnership. Through this commitment, Canada has increased efforts to work in harmonization with other development partners and to align its programs with the plans and priorities of the Government of Nigeria, particularly the Nigeria National Health Sector Development Plan (NSHDP 2010-2015 and upcoming 2016-2020 NSHDP 2) and the Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IMNCH) Strategy.
Children and youth including maternal, newborn and child health
- helped strengthen the skills of 2,000 nurses, midwives and community health extension workers through support for training in life-saving skills to manage and promptly refer emergency obstetric and neonatal complications, in particular in underserved areas
- supported twice-yearly Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) Weeks, which provide key health services to mothers and children, contributing to Nigeria reaching 5.4 million pregnant women with key health messages and services such as tetanus vaccination and iron supplements, and 27 million children with services such as immunization, deworming, vitamin A supplementation, bed nets to prevent malaria, and birth certificates
- provided an estimated two million children (1 to 5 years of age) with deworming tablets; provided 850,000 pregnant women with blood-building tablets to prevent anemia; and 573,000 caregivers were counselled on handwashing and key household practices.
- provided an estimated 200,000 children with birth certificates, and 270,000 children were screened for malnutrition.
- helped enable the vaccination of 4.8 million children with oral polio vaccine and contributed to a reduction in the number of cases of wild polio virus, falling from 103 in 2012–2013 to 37 in 2013–2014
- provided technical assistance to the Government of Nigeria to develop a cohesive and inclusive long-term approach, vision and plan for the next phase of mining sector reforms that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable
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