Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria - SEDIN (Phase III)

Project description

Title: Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria - SEDIN (Phase III)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union (EU)
Country: Nigeria
Lead executing agency: Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning
Overall term: 2011 to 2022 (Phase III 2017 to 2022)

Potato farmers after the harvest. © GIZ


Poverty and underemployment characterise Nigeria’s current economic and social situation. 44 per cent of the potential working population is either unemployed or underemployed. 60 per cent of them are young people between the ages of 15 and 29. 84 per cent of those employed in Nigeria work in mostly private small businesses that are not optimally integrated into the value chains. High regulatory costs and limited financing opportunities hinder their growth. Microfinance banks have yet to play an important role in financing small businesses. The high operating costs and inadequate risk management in banking make loans more expensive, rendering them uneconomical for many small businesses.


Employment and income opportunities for small enterprises in selected sectors have improved.

Rice farmers out in the fields. © GIZ


The project and its partners support the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). It focuses on three areas: improving access to financial services, improving the legal framework, boosting entrepreneurial skills and strengthening service providers (e.g. advice centres) for MSMEs. The focus here is on the agriculture (potatoes, manioc, rice, tomatoes, chilli and ginger), clothing, leather goods and social housing construction sectors. The project carries out activities in the northern states of Kaduna, Kano, Niger and Plateau along with the southern states of Abia, Lagos, Ogun and Oyo.

In order to improve access to financial services, the project is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria, microfinance banks and training service providers. It advises 15 microfinance banks, supports staff training, and implements measures to improve the population’s financial literacy. It supports government, private and civil society organisations in developing sustainable training courses.

To improve the general conditions for MSMEs, the project encourages public-private dialogue formats and advises government agencies on issues such as registration, land acquisition, building permits and taxation. It supports MSME service providers in setting up advice centres.

To boost entrepreneurial skills, the project is working with training providers to run various training courses such as start-up courses and a six-month Training and Coaching Loop, and to offer these on a permanent basis. The project is also working with secondary schools to support young people with careers guidance and entrepreneurial skills.

The project is cofinanced by the European Community, and the consulting firms GOPA Consultants and AFC Agriculture and Finance Consultants support its implementation.

Pupils belonging to a SEA Hub. © GIZ


From 2016 to 2018, the credit portfolio of the 15 microfinance banks supported by the project grew by 13 per cent to approximately EUR 7.6 million. Their income increased by 47 per cent and the number of borrowers rose by 31 per cent to 59,352. The proportion of women borrowers was 59 per cent.

To date, 69,827 people have improved their financial literacy through training courses that have been held with the project’s support since 2017. Basic financial literacy has also been incorporated into school curricula.

The investment climate and conditions for MSMEs improved thanks in part to the establishment of 37 groups responsible for representing interests and lobbying along with eight arbitration bodies for settling legal disputes. Based on new federal legislation to harmonise taxes, 49 out of 61 unauthorised fees have been abolished, thus reducing costs for small businesses. The time required for land acquisition has been reduced from three years to six weeks. The time needed to obtain a building permit has been halved.

Of the 346 men and women (50 per cent) who participated in start-up courses, one third have started business operations. A total of 32 newly registered companies have created 131 additional jobs. Of the 562 entrepreneurs (30 per cent women) who participated in the six-month Training and Coaching Loop, 53 per cent have formalised their companies. In other training courses, 3,173 Nigerians, of whom 402 are returning migrants, have improved their business skills. In addition, 14,859 school pupils (56 per cent girls) boosted their entrepreneurial skills in working groups involving 232 secondary schools. 

In the agricultural value chains supported, 5,366 new jobs were created. Twelve new potato varieties were introduced and 5,200 potato farmers attended training courses. This resulted in productivity gains and the average income of the potato farmers increased by 50 per cent