Systemic problems in the Delta, namely limited economic opportunities and persistent outbreaks of violence, hold back individuals and communities throughout the nine states. But instability in the Delta also has far reaching impacts, affecting business, politics and security on national, regional and global scales.
With this mindset, our investments focus on creating long-lasting, sustainable change. We have moved away from the traditional development aid model focused on giving, which can create dependency on donor funding. Instead, we build market systems responsive to local needs, create economic opportunities and address barriers to growth.
Local and National Impact
Comprised of over 30 million people from more than 40 ethnic groups, communities spread across the Niger Delta’s nine states are diverse, but their struggles are strikingly similar. Half of the population of the Niger Delta experiences poverty and has been affected by armed conflict.
Conflicts in the Delta have persisted since the pre-colonial period in response to political protests, environmental issues and industry tensions. Since the 2000s, the incidence of armed conflicts has risen as militant groups have formed in opposition to the oil industry’s stake in the region and in response to limited economic opportunities. These groups often commit acts of violence, bombing oil installations and taking workers hostage, which takes a toll on the economy as well.
Clearly, establishing stability in the Delta would benefit the lives of those living there and help attract new business ventures that would expand economic growth, but it is also of the utmost importance to the country as a whole. The Delta’s oil is the source of 90 percent of the government’s revenue and 95 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Unrest in the Delta and disruption of the oil industry, in particular, leaves the country vulnerable to massive economic shocks that perpetuate national political mistrust.
Setting the Niger Delta on an upward trajectory would help Nigeria grow as a country. This would also have important benefits for the region.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and population and, as such, is a significant political player. The country occupies critical positions in several regional organisations including the Africa Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Its stability and growth would help to anchor the region on a path toward increased economic growth and political stability and enable it to lead the continent with increased authority and vision.
Furthermore, until there are more economic opportunities in the Delta, people in and around the Delta will continue to rely on illegal activities for an income, impacting the region more broadly. Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea cripples regional production and industries including fish farming across West Africa. But this reality will not change until there are well-paying jobs available.
We live in an interconnected world. Nigeria’s challenges are global challenges, too.
Businesses are constantly seeking new markets. Nigeria is the next big, largely untapped market, and it is growing rapidly by an average of 4 to 5 million people a year. By 2030, Nigeria will be the third largest population in the world. With peace and economic growth in the Niger Delta, the population of Nigeria would be able to accrue greater spending power and be more avid consumers of goods produced both domestically and abroad. A favorable Nigerian market benefits international businesses, and that requires smart investments in the country’s most economically important region: the Niger Delta.
Looking beyond global industry, a stable, conflict-free Delta would help curb global terrorism. The current lack of economic opportunity and the barrage of violence in the Delta is the ideal environment for the spread of radicalization and organized, internationally-focused terrorism. Eliminating these factors would help quell many of the motivations behind international terrorism.
Finally, supporting and mobilizing Nigeria’s people and domestic resources can foster economic growth and reduce reliance on foreign aid from countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany. NDPI’s programs are developed to minimize dependency and foster locally-led leadership, so that Nigeria—and the Niger Delta, in particular—is positioned to grapple with the large issues it currently faces and ones it may encounter in the future.
Learn more about our programs and results.