Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa needs to expand and reduce inequality to attain sustainability, said new Head of the United Nations System and UNDP Resident Representative, Fatma Samoura recently.
Speaking during a meeting with the media, she noted that the growth in the economy has not translated to reduction in poverty and inequality.
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.
She highlighted the various ways at which the UNDP is supporting the government at federal and state levels in responding to its immediate national priorities and achieving the country’s long-term development aspirations.
“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.
“UNDP is working with both Federal and State governments because we believe that these two sectors have great potential to drive growth further.” She stated.
The UNDP is currently 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.
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 launch 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.
The UNDP boss also stated that a cooperation framework between the Ministry of Solid Minerals and UNDP aimed at exploring avenues for increasing the production of minerals to generate revenue and employment opportunities for the country is currently underway.
Ms. Samoura pointed out that 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.
With regard to responding to the humanitarian situation in the North East of the country, Ms. Samoura stated that the challenges faced by people in the region were enormous and required urgent attention. She noted that UNDP has rendered support the victims through provision of training opportunities.