With a population of about 162 million, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa—almost one out of every five sub-Saharan Africans lives within its borders.
Endowed with good access to skills, capital, technology, fertile land 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 second-largest economy and its strategic geographic location makes its stability important to the region.
Yet the challenges Nigeria faces are staggering: the country ranks 153 out of 187 countries on the United Nations 2012 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. According to UNICEF, one Nigerian woman dies every 10 minutes due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth, while more than 500 newborns die daily. About 60 percent of Nigerian mothers give birth without the help of a skilled birth attendant. Nigeria also has low immunization coverage, high incidence of HIV/AIDS and is one of the three remaining endemic countries in the world for polio.
Nigeria is a young but 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.
These divisions, along with disputes over access to resources, have escalated localized insecurity and conflict, particularly in the Niger Delta where oil production is concentrated. Oil represents 90 percent of Nigeria's government revenue, and the lower global price for crude oil that followed the global economic crisis precipitated a fiscal deficit which is continuing. This crisis also affected Nigeria's economy through declining investment.
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 Nigeria's National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) (PDF, 3.53 KB, 99 pages), along with 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. The goal of Canada's international development program in Nigeria is to help the country achieve equitable and sustainable poverty reduction by improving the country's ability to use its own resources for development. Canada supports efforts that focus on securing a future for children and youth, and stimulating sustainable economic growth in two states: Cross River and Bauchi.
Canada continues to support efforts that help Nigeria reduce its high rate of maternal mortality by providing safe conditions for birth. Canada is also helping Nigeria increase child survival by improving primary health care systems at the local level and reducing preventable childhood diseases. This initiative includes support to enhance the skills and knowledge of front-line community health workers.
Canada, along with other donors, will contribute to the Government of Nigeria's objectives of:
Canada is working with Nigerian organizations and government bodies to improve how the country manages its natural resources—these are key to long-term sustainable economic growth. These efforts include support for projects that help Nigeria adapt to climate change, set up ways for local groups to monitor use of natural resources and reduce environmental degradation where it directly affects people's livelihoods and food security.
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 the Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IMNCH) Strategy.
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