Canadian international assistance in Nigeria

With a population of about 193 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. Although going through an economic recession, Nigeria is still Africa's largest economy and its strategic geographic location makes its stability important to the region.

Nigeria’s challenges

Yet the challenges Nigeria faces are staggering: the country ranks 152 out of 188 countries on the United Nations 2016 human development index. More than 62% of Nigerians (119 million people of the 193 million) live on less than $1.90/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% of the world’s population, Nigeria accounts for 14% 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 814 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. Poverty and inequality affect Nigerian women disproportionately, fuel violence and make youth vulnerable to radicalization by terrorist movements such as Boko Haram. Nigeria is also one of the countries most threatened by climate change impacts and desertification. Three out of four rural Nigerians depend on natural resources for their livelihood.

Our international development assistance

Search the Project Browser to see what Canada is doing to support development in Nigeria.

Canada draws on the priorities identified by the Government of Nigeria and state-level strategies, to guide its international development programming in the country.

Canada works closely with Nigeria to improve health outcomes for mothers, newborns and children and to help eradicate polio. Increasingly Canada’s programming investments are addressing gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls.

Likewise, the need for meaningful, sustainable employment, especially for women and youth, is a critical issue. This is addressed through the program’s work to improve agriculture- based livelihoods in disadvantaged rural areas.

Health and rights of women and children

The Program is addressing the gaps in the coverage and utilization of sexual and reproductive health services among women. Canada is also 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:

Canada is working with Nigerian organizations and government bodies to improve skills and increase business opportunities for the Nigerian workforce in agriculture to address the need for meaningful, sustainable employment, especially for women and youth. These are key to long-term sustainable economic growth.

Selected examples of expected results:

Progress on aid effectiveness

Nigeria adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. 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.

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