The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has rallied private-sector players and investors to pledge N9.6 billion in investments for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as the financial technology and agribusiness sectors.
This was done at an event themed “Fostering Economic Resilience in Northeast: A Path to Sustainable Growth,” aimed at fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors to propel investments and spur economic recovery, growth and development in the region.
Northeastern Nigeria faces challenges influenced by various factors, with socio-economic conditions playing a pivotal role. Insecurity has disrupted supply chains, hindered market access and discouraged investment. Inadequate infrastructure compounds these challenges by impeding the efficient movement and distribution of goods to consumers. MSMEs, especially, encounter obstacles in securing financing for expansion and working capital due to limitations within the financial sector, resulting in elevated borrowing costs. Furthermore, the region’s susceptibility to drought and climate-related concerns strains its economy. The situation is exacerbated by the insufficient availability of market information and limited access to digital technologies, further complicating the business landscape in northeastern Nigeria.
The event was facilitated through the Feed the Future Rural Resilience Activity—a $49 million, five-year USAID-funded project fostering economic recovery and growth in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe and Taraba States. The activity has forged partnerships with economic organisations, non-profits and public sector entities to improve marketplace opportunities for various groups, including women, youth, men, internally displaced persons and individuals with disabilities. The ultimate vision of RRA is to establish a future where these improvements can be sustained without the need for ongoing external intervention, and their strategies are geared toward facilitating and upholding long-term changes.
Among the nearly 450 attendees, 342 were private sector actors actively or considering investing in Northeastern states. They represent just a few of the over 600,000 beneficiaries the RRA activity is engaging.
Speaking at last week’s event, Feed the Future team lead, Jazmian Ohanyere remarked, “The Partnership Day event represents another crucial step to attract more businesses into the northeast and facilitate partnerships through open dialogues, knowledge sharing and relationship-building. At USAID, our commitment to building resilient communities, businesses, institutions and households remains unwavering”.