PARTNER-ATLAS

NIGERIA

as a partner for the security and stability of Europe, its neighbourhood, and other regions of the world

01 — The key questions for the Partner-Atlas

RELEVANCE: What relevance does Nigeria have for Germany with respect to realising the interest of "the security and stability of Europe, its neighbourhood, and other regions of the world"?

With a population of around 200 million, Nigeria is not only the largest country in Africa, but it has also been the continent’s largest economy for some years now. The country is rich in oil and gas and is one of the largest oil exporters in the world. Nonetheless, Nigeria faces immense security and economic problems, which are worsening as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and could further destabilise the entire region in the medium to long term, posing major challenges for Europe. This applies both to the European interest in supporting the Sahel states in their fight against terrorism and to reducing irregular migration from Africa.

Rather than being an advantage, Nigeria’s size is a disadvantage in this context. Around 50 percent of the population or around 100 million people are already living in extreme poverty. This is mainly due to the fact that the country’s population has been growing rapidly for decades, whereas economic growth has been slow. The UN even estimates that more than 400 million people will be living in Nigeria by 2050. This would make the country the third largest in the world after India and China. The country’s economy would require double-digit growth to compensate for this development. However, growth has amounted to only about 2 percent in the past two years. The country’s economy has been hard hit by the nation-wide curfews, the cessation of production and trade, lack of consumption, and by the international drop in the oil price due to the coronavirus crisis. The impending recession, which will cause the economy to shrink by about 3.4 percent in 2020, will result in high unemployment and contribute to an even more rapid spread of poverty.

The security situation has also been steadily deteriorating for a decade. The fight against the Islamists of Boko Haram and the splinter faction Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the northeast of the country, and across the border in Niger and Chad, is tying up important resources that these countries need elsewhere. Central Nigeria has also been suffering for years from a bitter struggle for land use between predominantly Christian farmers on the one hand and Muslim Fulani herdsmen on the other. The northwest has been destabilised by marauding bandit groups and, in the south, there is constant risk of destabilisation due to heavily armed militias. This ongoing problem is accompanied by an increasing failure of the state and its chronically underfinanced and understaffed security institutions. The main reason for this is widespread corruption at all levels of state, which deprives the country of billions of US dollars a year.

Under these circumstances, there is a threat of humanitarian crises in the medium to long term, which could result in greater refugee and migration movements to neighbouring countries and to Europe. This would not only further destabilise the neighbouring states that are already overwhelmed but would also pose major problems for Europe in terms of coping with the migration flows from Africa.

Stabilising the country, on the other hand, would have a positive effect on the entire region – not least because Nigeria is also the largest and most influential member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This could, therefore, also have a positive effect on the regional economic community.

WILLINGNESS: To what extent is Nigeria willing to work with Germany in realising this interest?

In principle, there is a willingness on the part of Nigeria to work with Germany to achieve the goal of stabilising the country and the West African region. One example of this willingness is the German-Nigerian Binational Commission, which was founded at foreign ministerial level in 2011 and aims to meet every two years in cross-departmental working groups to discuss the economy, energy, politics, culture, education and migration. The Commission has the task of improving the coordination of development cooperation. Together with Germany and Norway,

Nigeria also organised the Lake Chad Conferences in Oslo (2017) and Berlin (2018), which raised billions in aid for the region with its serious humanitarian crisis.

STATUS QUO: How close is Germany and Nigeria's current cooperation in this area?

Generally, there is close on-site cooperation between Germany and Nigeria. In Nigeria, the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) operates one of the largest international offices with the highest volume of work in Africa. For example, in addition to conventional development cooperation, the GIZ resilience project aims to use its budget of 54 million euros, financed mainly by the EU, to improve living conditions in the north-east of the country that is affected by terrorism. To this end, GIZ is implementing a police reform project on behalf of the Foreign Office (AA).

The German Armed Forces are not only present in Nigeria with a group of advisors providing German equipment assistance on site, but Nigeria is also a priority country for the “Enable & Enhance initiative” (Ertüchtigungsinitiative). German support includes providing the Nigerian armed forces with equipment and training to help in the fight against terrorism.

POTENTIAL: What is the potential for strengthening the partnership between Germany and Nigeria in this area?

Considering the immense problems, but also the importance of the country for the stabilisation of the region, the potential of a partnership has not yet been exhausted. Equipment assistance, training of security forces, measures for supporting security sector reform, and bilateral cooperation between security agencies could be significantly expanded. This would make crucial contributions to the fight against terrorism and organised crime possible. Furthermore, there is huge potential for better coordination between European partners in order to design the activities more effectively that are supposed to improve the situation in Nigeria.

 

POLICY RECOMMENDATION: What in German foreign policy has to change in order to fully exploit this potential?

In order to improve the coordination of cooperation in Nigeria, the Binational Commission should meet annually instead of only every two years. A security and stability working group should also be included in the commission. This would enable the various programmes and diverse activities of German and international players in this field to be better coordinated and, with the help of the Nigerians, better adapted to the country’s needs.

Germany should also tie its development cooperation to conditions that oblige Nigeria to make progress. The two biggest obstacles to development in the country – population growth and corruption – should be given greater focus and their own development cooperation programmes. In this context, measures for strengthening democracy and the rule of law would also have to be intensified. This could make an important contribution to improving the policy framework, which would benefit the country’s development.

In addition to the German organisations, a number of European players are also active in development cooperation. A better coordination of measures would thus also be possible at the European level and within the country via the EU delegation. This could result in making the various measures more strategic and synergistic.

Vladimir Kreck heads the KAS office in Nigeria.

NIGERIA

  • Population: 206,139,589
  • Capital: Abuja
  • Interest: The Security and Stability of Europe, its Neighbourhood, and other Regions of the World
  • Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Potential partner countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe

04 — The region

Sub-Saharan Africa

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SOUTH AFRICA

According to Federal Minister Müller, Africa is to become the “green continent of renewable energies”. South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy, is pursuing ambitious goals in this field, similar to what is being debated in Germany. Examples include the reduction of CO2 emissions and minimizing the dependence on coal. In order to do so, South Africa has introduced a carbon tax in 2019.

  • Population: 59,308,690
  • Capital: Bloemfontain, Capetown, Pretoria
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KENYA

Kenya is the most stable country in East Africa and is an economy that is oriented toward the west. With consistently strong economic growth in the twelve years before the coronavirus crisis and a GDP of just under 88 billion US dollars (2018), Kenya is the largest economy in East Africa and a growth engine for the entire region. Thanks to the port of Mombasa and the airport in Nairobi, the country is an important hub for trade and finance. Many international companies have chosen Kenya as the seat of their (East) Africa branches.

  • Population: 53,771,296
  • Capital: Nairobi
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GHANA

Despite its relatively small population of approximately 28 million inhabitants, Ghana is growing in relevance for Germany. This is evident not least of all from the fact that Ghana has been included in the Compact with Africa project since 2017 and became one of Germany’s reform partner countries in the same year. Ghana’s willingness to accept reforms in the economic and fiscal policy sector, along with its framework, which is relatively stable and reliable compared to many other Sub-Saharan African countries, made Ghana an interesting partner for the G20, and especially for Germany (as a reform partnership).

  • Population: 31,072,940
  • Capital: Accra
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NIGERIA

With a population of around 200 million, Nigeria is not only the largest country in Africa, but it has also been the continent’s largest economy for some years now. The country is rich in oil and gas and is one of the largest oil exporters in the world. Nonetheless, Nigeria faces immense security and economic problems, which are worsening as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and could further destabilise the entire region in the medium to long term, posing major challenges for Europe. This applies both to the European interest in supporting the Sahel states in their fight against terrorism and to reducing irregular migration from Africa.

  • Population: 206,139,589
  • Capital: Abuja
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NIGER

The unstable security situation throughout the Sahel region reveals the weakness of state authorities in the region. Niger’s security forces are also struggling to exercise effective control of the country. Several terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State or Boko Haram, regularly attack military bases and also civilians. Niger is also one of the poorest countries in the world and is dealing with numerous governance problems, including regular accusations of corruption against government representatives or officials. There have even been deaths during demonstrations by young people against the rampant corruption and bad governance. The Nigerien government’s measures against the coronavirus, especially the closure of mosques, have also led to violent clashes between mainly young demonstrators and the security forces. Amnesty International is also protesting against the use of the controversial cybercrime prevention law to suppress voices critical of the government in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Population: 24,206,644
  • Capital: Niamey
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