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Improving the odds for progress in Nigeria

Research report

Written by Victoria Chambers, Clare Cummings, David Booth

Research report

​Development outcomes do not improve easily in Nigeria. With a large economy and an abundance of natural resources, Nigeria’s potential is enormous. Yet it suffers from a lopsided economy, growing inequality and persistently widespread poverty. Weak institutions, lack of political accountability, and economic and social tensions underlain by sharp ethno-regional divisions and pervasive regional violence, make development progress in Nigeria particularly challenging.

However, challenging does not mean impossible. Two public sector governance programmes working in ten of Nigeria’s 36 states are showing that, even in exceptionally challenging political and socio-economic contexts, tangible advances can be made. These programmes have achieved worthwhile results by  facilitating multi-stakeholder partnerships to address issues that really matter locally, and adopting internal management arrangements that, within certain limits, support flexible, iterative and adaptive ways of working.

This policy brief examines the experience of the two programmes, showing how they have demonstrated the potential for change with innovative working methods. It then considers the programme management arrangements that have made these ways of working possible. Finally, it sets out some remaining constraints faced by programme leaders in further operationalising the approach. 

Victoria Chambers and Clare Cummings, with David Booth