Posts

Countries being helped by the UNDPThe United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is a U.N. network that aims to eliminate poverty, increase resilience in poor communities, improve access to education and develop policies in struggling countries. One of the UNDP’s major projects is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This project focuses on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including no poverty, zero hunger, quality education, clean water and sanitation and climate action.

The UNDP works with multiple struggling countries around the globe to meet these goals. Out of the 170 countries and territories being aided, below is a list of eight countries being helped by the UNDP.

8 Developing Countries Being Helped by the UNDP

  1. Nigeria: Nigeria is home to the highest number of people in poverty in the world, making it one of the poorest countries being helped by the UNDP. Due to this, the UNDP’s main focus in Nigeria is eradicating poverty. Since a large percentage of the poor population are farmers, the UNDP is working to make agricultural progress in communities and addressing challenges faced in terms of sustainability. In addition, the UNDP is working to create more jobs and improve access to sustainable energy sources.
  2. Afghanistan: A large part of Afghanistan’s population faces issues with the quality of life. The UNDP in Afghanistan aims to fight extreme poverty and inequality for the most vulnerable. Significant progress has already been made in terms of education. In 2001, only 70,000 school-aged children in Afghanistan were attending school. Currently, eight million children are attending school. The UNDP worked with the Ministry of Economy in Afghanistan in 2015 to spread the importance of Sustainable Development Goals for the country.
  3. Nepal: Nepal is one of the poorest countries in Asia. Due in part to the UNDP’s efforts in Nepal, major progress has been made in terms of eliminating poverty. Within four years, the country has reduced the poverty rate from 25.2 percent in 2011 to 21.6 percent in 2015. Specific goals the UNDP has for Nepal include building resilience against natural disasters, improving education access and improving access to basic resources such as electricity and clean water.
  4. Côte d’Ivoire: Through the anti-poverty program that was established by the UNDP, more than a quarter of a million people’s lives have significantly improved in Côte d’Ivoire. Through this initiative, 62 community organizations received monetary donations, project funding and vocational training to help them progress and reach their goals. In terms of agricultural issues, due to this program, fishing equipment has become more easily available and affordable. In addition, crop diversity has increased, providing more income and food options.
  5. Syria: Syria is a war-torn, impoverished country. As a result, Syrian people face issues with access to basic needs. This includes housing, access to necessary services and basic needs for women and the disabled. In 2018, the UNDP introduced the UNDP-Syria Resilience Programme, that focuses on improving the livelihood of such vulnerable groups. Through this project, more than 2.8 million Syrians were able to receive aid and benefits. These interventions have also produced benefits on a larger scale, including the creation of jobs, productive assets distribution and vocational training.
  6. Thailand: A large percentage of Thailand’s population lives in rural areas. Major problems for the rural poor include human rights issues, considerable economic inequality and weak rule of law. In Thailand, the UNDP is supporting and providing aid to ongoing projects and operations dedicated to problems being faced by its citizens. A major program the UNDP is supporting is the Thailand Country Program which focuses on environmental regulation and economic development. The UNDP is also working with the Thai Royal Government.
  7. Bangladesh: One of the biggest problems faced by Bangladesh is natural disaster risk. The UNDP started a project in January 2017 which is an ongoing collaboration with the National Resilience Program, the government, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and U.N. Women. It aims to develop strategies to create lasting resilience against unpredictable natural disasters, shocks, and crisis, that strongly impact the poor community. Specific aims of the project include strengthening communities, improving recovery and response to disasters and local disaster management.
  8. The Philippines: Approximately 25 percent of the Philippines lives in poverty. The UNDP’s projects in the Philippines include development planning, policymaking and implementing sustainable practices. One of the main aims of the UNDP is to localize poverty reduction and increase community involvement. The UNDP is also going about development planning in a way that will include increasing the use of natural resources in a sustainable manner while reducing poverty.

– Nupur Vachharajani
Photo: Flickr

the fight to end AIDSOn June 21, President Emmanuel Macron presented Elton John with the highest decoration in France, the Legion of Honour, at the Champs Élysées. It was given during France’s Fête de la Musique in recognition of John’s notable mark on the music industry. The musician’s speech, however, did not focus on his own artistic abilities or the celebration. Rather, John concentrated on the global maladies plaguing the world’s impoverished countries.

In particular, John highlighted the fight to end AIDS as an issue of “great importance.” He further vowed to join Macron in his effort to help those suffering from the illness and prevent it from spreading. In order to achieve this goal, the two have called upon the world’s youth and political leaders to replenish the donation given to the Global Fund.

What is the Global Fund?

The Global Fund is an international organization that aims to strengthen health systems. To do so, the organization focuses on locating and treating individuals with AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Over 100 countries have received aid from the Global Fund since its establishment in 2002.

Macron is affiliated with this organization as France is both a founding member and a top financial contributor. Many of the countries who receive aid from the Global Fund were once colonies of the French Empire. To date, France has given more than $4.2 billion in donations to the organization since 2002.

Global Fund Accomplishments

The three diseases, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, affect the same population. The organization thus allocates funds in proportion to the amount of population affected in each receiving country. In the past, countries such as Nigeria, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have received the most aid.

The Global Fund has an impressive list of achievements. Since 2002, it has saved 27 million individuals through treatment and prevention methods. Moreover, these accomplishments highlight the efficiency of the organization. In 2017, 17.5 million people were treated with antiretroviral therapy for HIV, 5 million were treated for tuberculosis and 197 million were provided mosquito nets to prevent the spread of malaria. By 2030, the Global Funds hopes to end all three epidemics.

Using Influence to do Good

France has proven to be dedicated to both the Global Fund and the fight to end AIDS. Next October, France will host the organization’s conference in Lyon. In anticipation of the upcoming event, Macron and John have called to raise $14 billion in funding over the next three years.

These ambitious goals become more attainable as awareness increases. John’s speech and Macron’s mobilization in the fight to end AIDS incentivizes the French community. If AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, are to be terminated by 2030, they will require acute attention and enthusiasm on the part of those fighting to these diseases.

– Annie O’Connell
Photo: Flickr

Education and Technology in AfricaAccess to education and literacy are two of the most important tools for positive growth in developing nations. Each new educated, literate and technologically-savvy generation can bring with it a host of innovative solutions and boundless potential for future development. However, in rural or impoverished parts of Africa, access to education – and especially technology – can be limited, making it difficult for the millions of people living there to receive these key resources.

Connecting Rural Africa

Intuitive, driven thinkers are determined to change this; the introduction of the XO Laptop and the Inye computer tablet has changed the face of education in Africa with technology, while the WorldReader program is making literacy more accessible than ever with e-readers. Advancements like this help fuel the growth of developing countries from the inside out by starting grassroots dedication to education that can completely alter the future of impoverished nations.

One of the essential first steps for transforming education in Africa with technology is connecting rural villages to the internet, a vital resource when it comes to both teaching and learning. Internet access isn’t guaranteed in villages without the luxury of cables and Wi-Fi, which meant other solutions had to be explored.

The XO Laptop

Two pieces of technology emerged, providing limitless potential to impoverished children throughout Africa. The first is known as the XO Laptop, a compact, inexpensive personal computer with both built-in internet connectivity as well as a host of other features that make it ideal for use in rural areas. The product has surged in popularity in Kenya.

The Inye Tablet

For adolescent users with more advanced technological understanding, the Inye Computer Tablet is the solution helping to bridge the tech gap between first and third-world countries, such as its origin country of Nigeria. At a price just over 250 dollars, it provides competitive features to mainstream wireless devices for a fraction of the cost. The Inye tablet uses dongles to connect to the internet rather than a wireless connection, making World Wide Web access affordable and easy. The Inye tablet has also opened the market for local programmers to develop apps for needs specific to their communities, often featuring education modules focuses on HIV, clean water, and youth education.

The WorldReader Project

Finally, literacy has gone from dream to reality for millions in impoverished countries worldwide with technological advances and the initiative of NGOs like the WorldReader Project, which provides e-readers stocked with curated libraries to schools in developing nations. WorldReader programs are tailored based on age group and reading experience, and the long-lasting e-readers they rely on can be used in direct sunlight. WorldReader has taken action in nearly 50 countries and expanded its base to include nearly 10 million readers since 2010.

The revolution to improve and expand education in Africa with technology is already underway, and growing every day. With new innovations like the Inye Computer Tablet and WorldReader e-readers becoming available to millions worldwide, lives are changing for the better, and the future is bright for Africa.

– Emmitt Kussrow
Photo: Flickr

Food Security in Nigeria
Malnutrition has been labeled Nigeria’s silent crisis by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health. The most vulnerable group affected are children as up to one million children under the age of five are affected by severe acute malnutrition in Nigerian each year. Policy predictions about future access to nutrition continue to place food security in Nigeria as a pressing issue for government, NGOs and local organizations.

Chowberry

Oscar Ekponimo, a Nigerian entrepreneur, had personal experience with hunger as a child that led him to develop a cloud-based software app called Chowberry. When he was a child, his mom used to remind him that hunger was not forever, and he cites this reminder as one of the reasons that kept him going every day. The idea for the app came as he walked the aisles of a grocery store and came across a can of tuna about to expire. With the goal of reducing food waste by redirecting it to those in need, Chowberry combines technology with the missions of local NGOs to address the momentous issue of food security in Nigeria.

In fact, this app allows retailers to monitor and track food product expiration in order to allow customers to access deep discounts through the app’s algorithm. The discounts become larger the longer the food waits on the shelves. The beta version – a 3-month trial of the app – connected 300 users with 20 retailers that provided nutrition to approximately 150 orphans and vulnerable children through partnership with orphanages. This pilot program was a success as it allowed participating orphanages to cut down on spending by more than 70 percent.

The app also reaches non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are able to purchase food at reasonable prices and acquire more food for distribution. The app logs a list of the NGOs’ preferences and notifies them when it receives the type of food the charities need for their food distribution programs. As of right now, Ekponimo’s biggest challenge is fighting ‘red tape’ that makes larger companies slow to adopt the necessary technology.

Powerful Partnerships

There has been a growing demand for Chowberry’s services over the past few years, and the organization now has a team of nine in Abuja that works with 20 retailers. Chowberry partners with three local charities to enhance food security in Nigeria: the Afro Global Care Foundation, Hold My Hands Women and Youth Development Foundation and Thrifty Slayer.

Ekponimo doesn’t stop his social activism with Chowberry; he also delivers free training and mentorship to school-age children on how to tackle hunger, malnutrition and achieving sustainable development. His social entrepreneurship and commitment to addressing food security in Nigeria won Ekponimo the 2016 Rolex Award of Enterprise and the title of being named one of Time magazine’s Next Generation Leader for 2017.

Creating Sustainable Innovations and Improvement

Although Nigeria is Africa’s wealthiest and most populated country, more than half the people residing in its borders live below the poverty line. Furthermore, Northern Nigeria has the third highest rate of chronic undernutrition of children in the world, and the International Committee of the Red Cross estimates that approximately 300,000 children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria over the coming year.

Food security remains at the forefront of challenges within th enation, and there is thus no doubt that the need exists for innovations like Chowberry.

– Georgie Giannopoulos
Photo: Flickr

 

Ongoing challenges in Lake ChadCountries surrounding Lake Chad in Central Africa are facing staggering levels of poverty. In addition to ecological challenges, violence stirred up by the terrorist organization Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria has begun to affect other nations in the region — notably Chad, Cameroon and Niger — causing detrimental consequences on food and livelihood security.

How the Region’s Citizens Are Being Affected

Due to ongoing challenges in Lake Chad, the United Nations has found that 10.7 million people are in need of assistance, seven million are food insecure and 515,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. According to the Operational Inter-Sector Working Group, the upcoming June-to-August rainy season in the Lake Chad region will leave 536,000 people vulnerable in Northeast Nigeria.

Areas of Concern for Ongoing Challenges in Lake Chad

  1. Once the third-largest source of freshwater in Africa, satellite images show that the lake has vanished to roughly 10 percent of its original size, putting millions from Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria at risk of losing their main source of water. In the 1960s, populations surrounding Lake Chad, which was then home to over 130 species of fish, enjoyed a level of food security.But decreasing water levels from the overuse of water, prolonged drought and global warming are forcing local populations to switch from fishing to agricultural production. “This is not only a humanitarian crisis, but it is also an ecological one,” Food and Agriculture Organization Director -General Graziano da Silva said at a media briefing in Rome in early 2017.
  2. Currently, armed fighting is a staple of the region. In Northeast Nigeria, the ongoing conflict with Boko Haram, a jihadist militant organization, will severely hurt cultivation in peak seasons in 2018. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, there was a 25 percent increase in the number of fatal conflict events in 2017 compared to the years 2013–2016 in this region. Households are highly dependent on emergency assistance from humanitarian aid agencies and deteriorating living conditions have led to population displacement.In addition, some areas are facing additional conflicts. There were 323 protection incidents reported on 84 sites in the Chad Lake region between January and April 2018, including violations of the right to property, violations of the right to life and physical integrity and sexual violence, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
  3. Food prices are well above average and are much higher than what is sustainable for those making low wages. Concern is higher in the summer “lean season,” when income is lowest and food prices are highest before harvest begins.Although humanitarian aid organizations are providing supplies, USAID reports that more needs to be done to eradicate acute food insecurity. USAID estimates that in the Adamawa State region in Nigeria, response needs are likely much higher than the organization is able to reach.

How Challenges Are Being Addressed

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is working heavily to mitigate ongoing challenges in Lake Chad, creating a response action plan for 2017–2019 which targets Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad. To assist nearly three million people, the Food and Agriculture Organization is in the process of implementing programs include providing livestock emergency support (restocking vaccinations and animal feed), supporting food production and rehabilitating infrastructure to bolster production.

Next, there seems to be mutual understanding among countries in the region of the urgency of action. In February 2018 in Abuja, the Lake Chad Basin region commission along with the Nigerian government and UNESCO held a conference called, “Saving Lake Chad to restore its basin’s ecosystem for sustainable development, security and livelihoods.”

Finally, USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network seeks to meet the needs of the most vulnerable. In April 2018, 2.25 million people in the northeast area of Nigeria received food assistance from the organization.

Ongoing challenges in Lake Chad, including the disappearance of Lake Chad, civil conflict driven by Boko Haram and limited access to foodstuff, have pushed thousands into poverty. Keeping these issues in mind, humanitarian aid organizations are working to mitigate and reverse the impacts of decades of damage.

– Isabel Bysiewicz
Photo: Flickr

Rapid Transit System in LagosNigeria has been the center of an African population boom, with its population doubling to nearly 200 million in the last 30 years. Lagos is in the center of this boom, recently hitting a population of 21 million people. In 2010 at a United Nations Forum, the director of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) proposed the idea of a rapid transit system to be built in Lagos. The goals of the rapid transit system in Lagos were to:

  • Spur economic growth
  • Decrease pollution
  • Decrease congestion and increase connections

Lagos is considered a megacity, meaning a city with a population of over 10 million. The population growth in Lagos is faster than that of London and New York put together, with an estimated increase of 500,000 people a year. This boom has placed a major strain on the city’s public transportation system. Traffic congestion is a massive problem in Lagos, as it can take hours to travel just a few kilometers. This gridlocked traffic also contributes heavily to air pollution.

As Lagos grows, so does the demand for more land for housing, industry and social services. This has caused Lagos to spread outward into rural areas. As the rural areas become more populated, more people will need reliable transit to get to work or into the city for commerce and other services.

In 2010, the director of LAMATA proposed the idea for a rapid transit system in Lagos. This system consists of various buses that can fit approximately 30 people, running day in and day out to ensure residents can get to work, shops and back. The buses are often overcrowded and the roads are in poor condition and unable to handle the sheer volume of public transit. While the introduction of a rapid bus transit system in 2010 made great strides toward increasing economic opportunity and increasing connections, the rapid population growth makes it inadequate in addressing congestion and air pollution.

Since 2014, Lagos has been undergoing a massive project to expand its rapid transit system, providing more options for the unique situation of a rapidly growing megacity. In addition to the multitude of busses, Lagos is constructing a light rail system to be developed by LAMATA. LAMATA has proposed seven light rail lines in the new network: red, blue, green, yellow, purple, brown and orange.

The trains Lagos will use in its rapid transit system are known as Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) and are free of carbon emissions. This will continue to aid Lagos in its efforts to reduce air pollution. Furthermore, the EMUs are much easier and more cost-effective to maintain than diesel locomotives. A plan to construct 35 pedestrian bridges over roads and high traffic areas will also work to decrease congestion.

Not only does this plan include the production of light rails and pedestrian bridges, but it also addresses other growing infrastructure needs in the megacity. Other infrastructure improvements as part of the project are stations, control and communication systems, workshop training facilities for train drivers and a drainage system.

Originally, the rapid transit system in Lagos was only capable of transporting 220,000 people both ways in a day. With this new project, a single line is projected to carry 400,000 passengers daily, with a total capacity of 700,000 passengers upon the completion of the light rail system. The interconnectedness of the rapid transit light rail system will work to spur economic growth.

Along with the construction of the EMU trains and stations, many jobs will need to be filled to maintain a stellar experience that continues to attract current private transportation users as well as meet the needs of Lagos residents relying on the rapid transit system. Jobs to be created include working for station operations, station maintenance, ticketing, cleaning, information services kiosks and centers for other public transit needs.

Lagos, Nigeria and the continent of Africa will continue to experience rapid population growth as nations continue to develop. The rapid transit system in Lagos has worked to connect rural areas to centers of commerce, decrease road congestion and decrease growing air pollution. With the addition of EMU train light rails to the rapid transit system, these advancements will only continue increasing the appeal of the megacity to the rest of the world.

– Kelilani Johnson

Photo: Flickr

India’s fight against PolioPolio, or poliomyelitis, is an infectious disease spread through poliovirus. Since the early twentieth century, polio has been widespread in many countries, causing paralysis in thousands of children every year. With the help of various nonprofit organizations and the Global Polio Eradication initiative, the disease is now narrowed down to a handful of nations.

In 2014, India was certified as a polio-free country, leaving Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan on the list for polio eradication programs. India’s fight against polio is a remarkable achievement because of the various challenges the country faced. Nicole Deutsch, the head of polio operations for UNICEF in India, called it a “monumental milestone.”

Polio: Cause and Prevention

Poliovirus is highly contagious, infecting only humans and residing in the throat and intestine of the infected person. It spreads through feces and can contaminate food and water in unsanitary conditions.

The virus affects the brain and spinal cord of the infected person, causing paralysis which cannot be cured. Immunization through inactivated poliovirus vaccine and oral poliovirus vaccine are the only possible methods to fight against the virus. In the case of India, it was the second option which was administered.

India’s Fight Against Polio: the Challenges Faced

India’s fight against polio faced unique challenges, such as its huge population density and an increased birth rate. The number of people living in impoverished conditions with poor sanitation is huge, making them vulnerable to the polio disease.

Lack of education and prejudice among certain sects of the population also hindered the immunization process. Other challenges faced were the unstable healthcare system, which does not support people from all levels of society, and the geographically-dispersed inaccessible terrain, which made the immunization process difficult.

Overcoming these Challenges

Overcoming the challenges of polio eradication was possible due to the combined help provided by UNICEF, WHO, Rotary Club, the Indian government and millions of frontline workers. They took micro-planning strategies to address the challenges faced by the socially, economically, culturally and linguistically diverse country that is India.

India began its oral polio vaccine program in 1978 but it did not gain momentum until 1994, when the local government of New Delhi successfully conducted a mass immunization program for children in the region. From the year 1995, the government of India began organizing National Immunization Day, and in 1997, the first National Polio Surveillance Project was established.

Other initiatives taken include:

  • Involving almost 7,000 trained community mobilizers who went door-to-door, educating people in highly resistant regions.
  • Engaging 2.3 million vaccine administrators who immunized almost 172 million children.
  • The government running advertisements on print media, television and radio.
  • Enlisting famous Bollywood and sports celebrities to create awareness among common people.
  • Involving religious and community leaders in encouraging parents to vaccinate their children.

Inspiration for Other Countries

In 2009, almost 741 polio cases were reported in India, which dropped down to 42 in 2010, until the last case was reported in 2011 in the eastern state of West Bengal. This unprecedented success is an inspiration for countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, where the disease is still looming at large.

India’s fight against polio has set an example in the world that the country can be proud of, but the fight is not over yet. Although India has been declared polio-free by the WHO, it is of the utmost importance that the nation continue to assist other nations still facing the polio epidemic.

– Mahua Mitra

Photo: Flickr

Boko Haram InsurgencyDespite its economic and resource potential, Nigeria, the most populous country in the African region, remains a poor country with a rising poverty rate, now projected at 60.9 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Besides government planning and expenditure, the activities of the Boko Haram Insurgency remain one of the most significant problems.

The Boko Haram Insurgency, a jihadist rebel group, is internationally recognized and condemned as a terrorist organization. Its ideology stems from the concept of Haram, or a rejection of western education, social and political systems.

Consequently, the following facts encompass some of the most crucial details of the Boko Haram Insurgency.

  1. The inception of the Boko Haram Insurgency can be traced back to 2002. The group declared a supposed ‘caliphate’ in Nigeria back in 2014. Its activities are closely associated with that of a so-called Islamic State. Owing to the widespread influence of the group, the Nigerian government was forced to declare a state of emergency.
  2. The group is infamous for its influence and indoctrination of youth and for perversions against the education system in Nigeria, in concentrated areas like Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. The group is known to operate from its stronghold in the town of Borno.
  3. Over the course of eight years and since the beginning of the group’s activities, over 20,000 people have lost their lives, with many bodies often unaccounted for. Recently, Borno state declared that over 52,311 children have lost their families in the fight against the Boko Haram group.
  4. In 2014, the group gained ubiquitous condemnation for the kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok. Even though many of them were freed with the help of collaborative discussions between the Nigerian and Swiss governments and the rebels, Amnesty International cites that over 2000 children remain in captivity.
  5. A majority of the civilians caught in the violent actions of the Boko Haram Insurgency are often housed in ramshackle government refugee camps, where resources and necessities are scarce.
  6. Since 2009, a lot of the violence has been concentrated in the Lake Chad region. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), over 800,000 children under the age of five around the area are deemed ‘severely malnourished’. An estimated $2.2 billion is needed to address the humanitarian emergency. Fortunately, the UNDP and Germany are working collaboratively on an integrated project that could potentially reach over 20 Nigerian communities.
  7. In recent years, the Nigerian Army has been able to recover a large portion of lost territory and reduce the group’s influence in the country. The Army recently captured a Boko Haram commander and freed around 212 hostages in the process. Moreover, the U.N. has spent a lot of effort on strengthening Sahel security forces in Lake Chad.
  8. In October 2017, the U.K. government pledged its support to Nigeria in the fight against the Boko Haram Insurgency. Currently, they will help the Nigerian military bolster its capacity by providing effective training. The British Military Advisory and Training Team (BMATT) and the Liaison Support Team (LST) will play a crucial role in further actions in Nigeria.
  9. According to a recent report by BBC news, the home of the founder of the Boko Haram Insurgency, Mohammed Yusuf, will be converted into a museum. The founder died during a police interrogation in the early stages of the group’s activities in the year 2009.
  10. According to many Nigerian researchers, a community- based approach toward combatting the problem is recommended.

Overall, the activities of the Boko Haram Insurgency seem to be at its final stages as governments and other stakeholder groups come together to mitigate the negative effects caused by the terrorist group and finally restore peace and order after many years of turbulence.

– Shivani Ekkanath
Photo: Flickr

The Success of Humanitarian Aid to NigeriaIn September 2017, U.N. Aid Chief Mark Lowcock said, “that the Government and humanitarians had made important progress in delivering life-saving relief to millions of people in north-east Nigeria.” He made this statement after visiting the country for two days. He did insist on continued efforts from the international community to support humanitarian aid to Nigeria.

This statement shows that humanitarian aid to Nigeria has been making a meaningful impact on the country. The large African country is home to 186 million people and is a large oil producer, but many people do not benefit from the inherent wealth.

The area that the U.K. and other international groups are concerned with is the North East region. According to the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, “Nigeria is a country riven with inequality. 85 percent of the population survive on less than two dollars a day, and certain regions, especially the North East, are far behind the rest of the country in terms of development.” It is extremely important to have funds to support this region.

Because of the poverty and poor living conditions of a large majority of Nigeria’s population, international aid organizations have been sending funds to the country. The U.K. pledged $250 million to Nigeria in August and has been a long-term supporter of its former colony’s development. This pledge was made to help stabilize Nigeria as the country is dealing with the terrorist group, Boko Haram. The U.K. had already given over $100 million in 2017 when they made this new pledge. Britain is concerned about the potential famine that could affect around a million people. According to News24, “The new aid is meant to restore key infrastructure and services, improve health care and education and help farmers.”

In addition to the U.K., USAID has also been helping to address the food insecurity in the Northeast. The organization gave 2.2 million people emergency food assistance in September. This has been done through cash transfers so that people can buy locally. The success of this type of humanitarian aid to Nigeria occurs at much more local level.

USAID has also been funding efforts to help improve road access to the North East so that food and supplies can reach those in need. This effort has positively affected over four million Nigerians.

Because of efforts like these, the international community and the people of Nigeria, specifically those in the North East, are seeing improvements. Providing food and resources in order to maintain stability is a continued effort in Nigeria. These efforts will continue to provide support for Nigerians in need of aid and hopefully, humanitarian aid to Nigeria will continue to thrive.

– Emilia Beuger

Photo: Flickr

Strengthening Infrastructure in Nigeria for a Better FutureNigeria is often considered a bright spot of growth in Africa.  It is a populous, increasingly urban country with a relatively strong economy.  This can be attributed in no small measure to its infrastructure. Infrastructure in Nigeria is fairly advanced by Africa’s standards.  Its roads and power grid cover much of the country.  However, the current infrastructure will not be able to support the economic aspirations of Nigeria or its growing population.

Of Nigeria’s nearly 200 thousand kilometer road network, 67 percent is made up of local roads that are often unpaved.  Of the federally-owned roads, about 40 percent are in need of repair.  As roads are becoming the favored mode of transportation in Nigeria, upgrades of roads become essential.  Unfortunately, Nigeria’s government has historically placed more emphasis on constructing new roads than on maintaining existing ones.

Another point of concern for infrastructure in Nigeria is its power grid.  While extensive, it currently doesn’t even generate enough electricity to meet 50 percent of demands. The majority of Nigerians still lack electricity.  Much of the electricity comes from fairly expensive and inefficient diesel power generation. Power outages are common.

In the major urban zones, transportation is often a serious issue.  Traffic in the largest cities, such as Lagos, can exceed two hours.  Given that over half of Nigeria’s population already lives in urban zones, this number is expected to rise. Major reforms are needed in these urban areas.

As it stands, Nigeria is not on course to become one of the world’s top 20 economies by 2020.  Much of this has to do with deficiencies in infrastructure in Nigeria.  This has not gone unnoticed by Nigeria’s government which has developed its Vision 20:2020 plan to meet those goals in time.  The government recognizes that it needs to spend more money on infrastructure.  It also needs to procure private and foreign investments in infrastructure.  It is also essential to pass laws to more tightly regulate infrastructure in Nigeria.

Nigeria certainly has its work cut out for it regarding infrastructure.  While the challenges it faces are not minimal, the issues infrastructure in Nigeria faces can be overcome.

– Andrew Revord

Photo: Flickr