The UNDP And Economic Diversification Programmes In Nigeria: A Critical Analysis On Buhari’s Administration

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The UNDP And Economic Diversification Programmes In Nigeria: A Critical Analysis On Buhari’s Administration


The study examined the impacts of the UNDP and economic diversification programmes in Nigeria. The study provides insight to the concept of SDGS, challenges to the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria, overview of Nigeria’s transition agenda, and economic diversification. The study adopts the theory of change.

The study adopted qualitative method and historical/analytical design was used in analyzing its data. Data were collected through secondary sources which include newspapers, archives, books, conference proceedings, etc.

The findings revealed that; The N-Power programme has provided a veritable platform for engaging unemployed youths;. The YouWin has encouraged the youths to develop their business and provided them with the necessary skills to create more jobs for others in the economy;. The Youth Empowerment Programs has brought about a number of empowerment programmes in Nigeria which has helped in the reduction of poverty and job creation and allocation.

The study concludes that, policies that will promote and enhance economic development as well as sustainability should be put in place by the government, which are in conformity to international policies, so as to achieve overall global sustainable development goals in Nigeria. Also initiatives such as the N-Power, YouWin, and YEP among others should be adequately financed by the government and with the provision of necessary facilities and qualified personnel should be in place so as to ensure that the primary objectives of the initiatives are achieved.

The study further recommendations that; The Federal Government should embark on an effective mass literacy programme and implement the language provisions of the National Policy on Education (NPE);. Job training of individuals in skills relevant to their immediate work environment and rural development should be incorporated;. The government should adopt policies and rearrange priorities in public expenditures in order to promote efficient economic growth and increase productivity;. The youths should be encouraged by government to participate in several vocational programmes not minding their level of education and sex;. The federal government must realize that it is not possible to drive and promote economic development if information about the SDGs is conveyed in language that is not easily understood by the people;. The various authorities concerned should as well foster and promote both rural and urban development through the various initiatives like N-Power, YouWin, YEP, etc;. The federal government should promote the strengthening of the capability for jobless youths in both the rural and urban settings;. There should be an increase of opportunities for sustained participation of both urban and rural jobless individuals in productive work.

Chapter One


1.1. Background of the Study

At the beginning of this 21st century, strong efforts are being made around the world to accelerate the pace of economic growth and development. Concerns such as poverty eradication, empowerment of women, improvement in education, health and environmental protection for people living in the developing countries have received growing attention in world. The growing attention paid to growth, development and social capital in the international arena is silently, however gradually overthrowing the economic and social conflicts that are prevalent in most developing countries.

There is a universal belief that the economic development of any country relies on the quantity and quality of its resources, the state of technology and the efficient utilization of resources in both the production and consumption processes. Resources-rich developing countries have the responsibility and the challenge to make sure that the benefits accruable from these resources filter down to the poor. Though, it is obvious that Africa is presently riddled with poverty, disease, ignorance, food insecurity and famine, with an enormous external debt and continued mismanagement of human, material and physical resources, (Iwuagwu, 2010). It is not surprising, therefore, that 22 of the top 40 poorest countries of the world are in Africa.

In September, 2000, the United Nations Assembly approved an eight-point development target, tagged the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The general objectives of the MDGs are to reduce poverty and extreme hunger by half; attain universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; lessen child mortality; enhance maternal health; fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development by 2015 in all the poor countries of the world (United Nations, 2003). The declaration could be heralded as a timely gesture; at least for the first time, the global community sought in one voice and harmony to address poverty as an international issue. The approval of the MDGs by the UN has additional reinforced the need for developing countries to embrace economic development as paramount in their respective countries.

However, in the case of Nigeria, despite its large renewable and non-renewable resources, Nigeria is still battling with increasing economic problems of unemployment, hunger, poverty, external debt burden and decaying public infrastructures. The development challenges facing Nigeria are not of improving one industry or region at the expense of another or of introducing policy distortions and inefficiencies in resource allocations to the benefit of one group, which in the past led to increased poverty for others, however rather to adopt growth and social service-oriented policies that will make possible all Nigeria’s inhabitants to improve their welfare (Nwaobi, 2015). President Buhari (2016) admitted that the building blocks for the diversification of the Nigerian economy and the priority sources of growth for the economy are agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals and construction. In other words, accelerating the pace of growth and development of the agricultural, manufacturing, mining (solid minerals), education, healthcare and other non-oil sectors will lead to faster integration and improvement in the welfare of the vast majority of the population of Nigeria.

In spite of its temporary economic setbacks, Nigeria needs substantial investment in physical and human infrastructure and social capital, (Blignaut & Parsons, 2015). The most urgent needs as far as social capital is concerned are to develop the ability of different ethnic tribes to work as one in “enlightened self-interest” for a common purpose in groups and organizations; to expand institutionalized social dialogue; and to rebuild and renew the economic value of high trust. Rebuilding Nigeria’s socio-economic capital could involve a tripartite mechanism involving the government, labour and the civil society being part of the democratic structure and the development of a culture of seeking solutions together, and of building capacity, partnership, economic and political settlement. In other words, to renew the economic value of the country, concerted effort and emphasis is needed on technological dynamism in Nigeria’s economic activities, and a long-term vision of its place in the global economy is imperative.

Sustainable development, according to the United Nations (UN, 2003), is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while at the same time sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystems services upon which the economy and society depends. The desirable end result of this is a state of society where living conditions and resource use continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural systems. Sustainable development is that development that meets our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

According to the United Nations, the components that work as one, to produce sustainable development are economic development, social development and environmental projection (UN General Assembly, 2005). These three must be conceptualized as one, planned as one and implemented as one by a government to attain the desired results. Therefore, sustainable development in a way has a moral dimension that demands a great sense of responsibility from the leader (government) and the follower (citizen).

The SDGs came into effect in January, 2016 and it is a (United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) policy guideline and funding programme for the next fifteen years. The goals are to be achieved by all member nations (189 countries) by 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also known as the Global Goals (CGs) are structured to end poverty, protect the environment and make sure that all individuals enjoy peace and prosperity, (Ayeni, 2015). The goals, 17 in number are fashioned out from the earlier Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and are listed below: no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, live below water, life on land, peace and justice strong institutions, and partnerships for the goals.

Nigeria, like other oil-dependent countries, is in a downward a spiral of economic damage from the plunge in world oil prices. Its currency is weakening, government revenue has dropped dramatically, civil-service salaries are delayed, many construction projects have been suspended and layoffs have begun (York, 2015). This problem has led to calls for the diversification of the economy. The Nigerian economy continues to grapple with a number of challenges that have hampered efforts at economic transformation. First, the economy is yet to achieve the necessary structural changes required to jump-start rapid and sustainable growth and development. Apart from a disarticulated and narrow productive base, sectoral linkages in the economy are weak. Primary production comprising agriculture, mining and quarrying (inclusive of oil and gas) dominates national output and the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the economy is decidedly small in terms of share of gross output, contribution to growth, foreign exchange earnings, government revenues and employment generation.

In 2015, Nigeria’s economy like other emerging markets was severely hurt by the global shock experienced. Almost all the economic indices were negatively affected and growth plummeted. There was a significant reduction in per capita income and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP has been compressed by 50percent from 578 billion dollars to 290 billion dollars, while per capita income has dropped from $3,100 to $1,500 (Adigun, Anumihe, Sanyaolu, Ebije, & Ojo, 2016). This condition has called for the calls for the introduction of economic stimulus in the face of the current financial hardship, largely accentuated by the slide in crude oil price. Uzor (2013) holds that the extreme reliance of Nigerian government finances and external trade balances on proceeds from the oil sector exposes the nation to significant risks from oil price and production shocks, bearing in mind that the international oil market landscape changes rapidly and erodes the competitive value of Nigeria’s oil and gas. She however notes that first; the number of countries discovering oil and gas reserves within their national boundaries is escalating and as such expanding the supply base of oil and gas products in the global market;, as well as improvement in refining technology is helping to eliminate the difference between the Nigeria light crude and the other types of crude oil, a feature that has reduced the price premium on Nigeria’s bonny light for many years, (ibid).

Economic diversification is imbedded in what is known as economic difficulty, which is the idea that countries shouldn’t be reliant upon a small number of products for their economic livelihoods. For instance, a country like Nigeria that has an economy based predominantly on oil production is neither particularly complex nor economically diverse. On the other hand, a country that has a strong manufacturing base, a vibrant services sector, a burgeoning natural resource sector, and a booming agricultural sector is quite complex and diverse, (Zagros, 2016). A diversified economy is an economy that has various revenue streams and provides nations with the capacity for sustainable growth simply because there of non-dependence on a particular type of revenue. Diversification thus provides nations with the security and reliability that they need so that should one economic revenue stream fail, they have a number of other options for revenue. Economic diversification demands active participation in wide range of sectors, and firmly integrated into different regions, and nations with such economies are better able to generate robust growth and great potential to increase Africa’s resilience and contribute to achieving and sustaining long economic growth and development in the continent (Uzonwanne, 2015). This will ensure a strong growing sustainable economy which is the goal of every nation in the world.

1.2. Statement of problem

Over the years, Nigerian government has come up with various programmes and initiatives aimed at making life better for the citizens. Some of these programmes are NPower, Youth Empowerment Programme, YEN Skill Acquisition Programme and many more. In some of these cases, the Federal Government has aligned itself with global initiatives that emanate from the United Nations. In spite of the benefits linked with most of these laudable initiatives, it seems that most developing countries hardly realized those goals. The year 2015 was the target year for the actualization of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), still the level of poverty, hunger, inequality in education, rate of joblessness or unemployment, among others have escalated instead of reducing. What could have been responsible for this? Could it be that the various stakeholders have no clear definition of what these goals were all about? In all these, do the practitioners have any role to play? Since the unveiling of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has it been able to achieve its primary goals, and will it still go the way of other initiatives? This study, is therefore, set to unravel through empirical evidences, the areas of priorities and challenges of actualizing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP).

1.3. Objective of the Study

The primary objective of the study is to critically assess the impacts of the UNDP and economic diversification programmes in Nigeria, while the specific objectives of the study are to:

  1. Examine the effect of Npower as an initiative of the SDGs on employment creation in Nigeria.
  2. Assess the contribution of the SDGs in the eradication of poverty in Nigeria.
  3. Investigate the influence of the YEN programme on the development and acquisition of skills by youths in Nigeria.
  4. Ascertain the factors limiting the effectiveness and actualization of the SDGs goals in Nigeria.

1.4. Research Questions

Research questions are those interrogative statements that arise often from the course of study, they can be defined as research objectives stated in interrogative form. Research questions are meant to generate possible answers to different aspects of the research problem and they should be clearly stated such that they act as guides in identification, collection and analysis of relevant data. In order to achieve the purpose of this research study, the study will attempt to provide answers to the following research questions in order to arrive at a logical conclusion.

  1. What is the effect of Npower programme on youth employment in Nigeria?
  2. To what extent is the contribution of the SDGs in eradicating poverty in Nigeria?
  3. What is the contribution of the YEN initiative on the development and acquisition of skills by youths in Nigeria?
  4. What are the factors limiting the effectiveness and actualization of the SDGs goals in Nigeria?

1.5. Significance of the Study

The findings of this study would help the government, public stakeholders, practitioners, and information professionals to know the areas of priorities and the challenges associated with actualization of SDGs. It is expected that this study will professional bodies and individuals involved to fully understand their roles in contributing towards the realization of the SDGs goals in Nigeria..

1.6. Scope of the Study

This research will critically assess the impacts of the UNDP and economic diversification in Nigeria. Furthermore, the research intends to study the factors limiting the effectiveness and realization of the SGDs in Nigeria and provide remedy for it. The study would be limited to respondents at the SDGs Office in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. This is due to constraints like degree of precision, cost and time involve. The study will focus on a timeline of 5years; from 2015-2019. However, solutions and recommendations will be made on a progressive basis (that is futuristic basis).

1.7. Methodology of the Study

The research methodology used in this work, is qualitative. It involves heavy reliance on secondary data and sources such as; published Journal, Articles, and books by commendable authors in the field as well as works and writings of other scholars which are tangential to this research. It also includes news reports and interviews.

1.8. Definition of key terms

United Nations (UN):

The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the second world war by 51 countries committed to maintain international peace and security’(United Nations, 2019).The United Nations was established following the conclusion of the Second World War and in light of Allied planning and intentions expressed during the conflict (Shaw, 2014).


Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a global initiative aimed at making the nation a better place to live. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is an offshoot of Millennium Developments Goals (MDGs)


Is the United Nations’ global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life for themselves.

Economic Diversification:

Is an economy that has a number of different revenue streams and provides nations with the capacity for sustainable growth because there of non-reliance on one particular type of revenue.

1.9. Chapter Outlay

This study is divided into five chapters.

  • Chapter one provides background to the study, statement of the problem of the study, objectives of the study, research questions and other specifications.
  • Chapter two reviews various relevant literatures on the subject, and it as well posits the theoretical framework of the study.
  • Chapter three examines the subject of initiatives of the UNDP
  • Chapter four focuses on answering the main objective of the study research questions of the study.
  • Chapter five of this study will contain the conclusion of the study as well as the recommendation of the study.

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