The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has embarked on exploratory discussions with the development agencies of France and Germany to propel job creation and boost farmers’ productivity in the Niger Delta region.
Driven by a commitment to advance sustainable development, the NDDC Managing Director, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, led a high-level delegation on a two-day visit to the French Development Agency (AFD) and the German Development Agency (GIZ) offices in Abuja.
Accompanying him were the NDDC Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Major General Charles Airhiavbere, (Rtd.) the Executive Director of Projects, Mr. Charles Ogunmola, an expert in partnerships, Dr. Uche Igwe, and several Directors from the NDDC.
The French Development Agency, AFD, is a public institution that implements France’s policy for international development and cooperation, operating across more than 100 countries globally, including Nigeria. The AFD has been actively engaged in Nigeria since 2008, establishing itself as a pivotal partner.
The AFD’s support spans various sectors, including financing the low-carbon energy transition, urban development, economic diversification, and agricultural enhancement.
Similarly, the German Development Agency (GIZ) is a public-benefit federal enterprise committed to sustainable development and international cooperation. With a presence in over 120 countries, GIZ has been actively engaged in Nigeria since 1974, operating through its country office in Abuja. The agency’s work in Nigeria spans various sectors, including economic development and employment, security, reconstruction and peace, as well as governance and democracy.
During the visit, Dr. Ogbuku highlighted the NDDC’s eagerness to explore innovative funding mechanisms and secure technical expertise for impactful projects. He emphasised the Commission’s intention to leverage international best practices and ingenious solutions to effectively address developmental challenges prevailing in the Niger Delta.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer underlined the Commission’s commitment to its mandate of enhancing the quality of life for Niger Delta people. “The Niger Delta Development Commission is unwavering in its pursuit of sustainable development within the region,” he affirmed. “Our collaborative endeavors with esteemed partners like GIZ and the French Development Agency amplify our collective ability to bring about positive and enduring change.”
Earlier, the AFD Country Director in Nigeria, Mr. Xavier Muron, told the NDDC delegation that the agency is a development partner that gives a higher priority to supporting projects and programmes that pertain to climate change mitigation.
In a similar vein, the GIZ Country Director, Dr. Markus Wagner, said there were huge areas of opportunity for the NDDC to partner with the German Development Agency, including vocational training, helping farmers improve productivity, and technical support to enable farmers to tap the growing market for African fresh foods.
The discussions, which engaged representatives from both agencies, were described by Dr. Ogbuku as fruitful. He stated, “The discussions focused on avenues for collaboration that would synergize the expertise and assets of all entities involved.
The collaborative endeavors center on effectively addressing the diverse challenges confronting the Niger Delta while expediting sustainable development across pivotal sectors.”
Executive Director of Projects, Mr. Ogunmola, elaborated on the specific areas of collaboration under consideration. “Our discussions spanned diverse sectors, including vocational training for youths, sustainable agriculture and energy initiatives, entrepreneurship development, and environmental conservation. This partnership brings forth the potential to transform these sectors and unlock novel prospects for sustainable progress.”
Aligned with the federal government’s policy to foster stakeholder engagement in the Niger Delta, the NDDC organised a Policy Dialogue with its development partners in Abuja on the 6th of July 2023. This proactive approach underscores the Commission’s dedication to nurturing relationships that fuel the region’s development agenda.
To further fortify these collaborative efforts, the NDDC boss has taken the initiative to engage these partner organizations on a bilateral level. This proactive follow-up aims to ensure that commitments established during the policy dialogue translate into impactful actions and seamless implementations. Before the talks with the GIZ and the French Development Agency, NDDC held discussions with the World Bank, the European Union, and the Indian High Commission.