Despite the complex risk environment, Nigeria is committed to making progress toward establishing a more stable democracy, addressing variables that reduce extreme poverty, and strengthening resilience.

people with hoes in drought


Nigeria is a regional power in West Africa, claiming the title of Africa’s largest economy and most populous (nearly 200 million people) country. It has held democratic elections since 1999. Nigeria also has one of the world’s largest youth populations and considerable natural resources. Nigeria’s income inequality has only worsened in recent years, in part from Boko Haram’s insurgency.

Despite these challenges, and with a range of strengths, Nigeria is committed to strengthening resilience, growth, and stability in its own country and beyond. Strengthening resilience in Nigeria will help enable sustainable escapes from poverty, enhance productivity by addressing malnutrition and displacement challenges, and begin to address the underlying factors fueling the country’s ongoing violent conflict.

Complex Risk Environment

Nigeria faces a set of distinct and ongoing conflicts, weak and often corrupt governance systems, and poor infrastructure. It is also confronting climate-related risks and significant inequality in access to economic opportunity. A considerable proportion of Nigerians remain in extreme poverty and cannot access basic services. All together these risks make millions of Nigerians vulnerable to food insecurity, poor health, and unemployment.

Nigeria is home to one of the world's worst and most complex humanitarian crises. The Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa insurgencies are undermining development efforts in the northeastern region. Meanwhile, conflict between farmers and pastoralists in Nigeria’s Middle Belt is on the rise too. Boko Haram’s insurgency is driven by factors that include weak government and security, marginalization, and religious motivation, while the Middle Belt violence is driven by factors such as environmental degradation, lack of clarity on grazing rights, and a weak government response to the violence. Large numbers of internally displaced persons and refugees face widespread insecurity, protracted displacement, depleted assets, and the interruption of agricultural production throughout the region, driving acute food security levels and reliance on humanitarian assistance.

Resilience Approach

In northeastern, Nigeria humanitarian action should be sequenced, layered, and integrated with longer-term assistance that aims to promote growth in the region and build up market systems and diverse livelihood opportunities. Efforts to strengthen resilience in Nigeria—both in the northeast and beyond—will also benefit from improving governance and restoring people’s confidence in government. Improved governance will support other activities that are key to improving resilience in Nigeria, especially in areas where displaced people are living or returning home.

Resilience programming, under the Buhari Plan, is focused on intensifying agriculture and strengthening markets; engaging the private sector; increasing youth employment; improving nutrition for women and children; and expanding the use of information and communication technology. These efforts aim to sustainably move people out of chronic vulnerability and poverty and toward a more prosperous future.

Opportunities for Building Resilience

Nigeria’s active private sector and its large youth population, in particular, are two areas with enormous potential to contribute to increased resilience.

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