In Nigeria, a 36-state federation with a population that will soon top 200 million and a GDP close to that of South Africa, the issues of sustainable development and vulnerabilities are staggering: demographic pressure, exposure to climate change, unemployment and underemployment, a lack of social and geographic cohesion, security tensions, governance with room for improvement, inequalities, dependence on oil revenues, chronic undersupply of electricity… At the same time, the country’s fundamentals – its high growth potential, choice location on the African continent, colossal need for investment in infrastructure and industrialisation, a now-established democratic system, entrepreneurial dynamism… – all give grounds for optimism. However, they also flag the risks, particularly in terms of the environment, of an insufficiently sustainable development model.
Less than ten years after launching its activities in the country, AFD has become a legitimate partner for Nigeria in several key sectors such as energy, urban water, rural roads and urban transport. Its unique positioning as a bilateral donor with a variety of sovereign and non-sovereign financing solutions has proven its worth vis-à-vis some key stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Finance, Lagos State, the federal ministries in charge of water, energy and rural roads, a few first-rate banks and the World Bank (WB). Yet, despite the 1.15 billion euros committed over nine years (including regional activities), this legitimacy is still fragile in an atypical country where official development assistance (ODA) amounts to very little.
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