United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) held an event to catalyse collaboration among the public and private sector to mobilise investments and drive economic recovery, growth, and development. Labeled as Partnership Day—under the theme “Fostering Economic Resilience in Northeast: A Path to Sustainable Growth”—the event mobilised private-sector players and investors to commit N9.6 billion of investments in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and the financial technology and agribusiness sectors.
The Northeast grapples with challenges influenced by various factors, with socio-economic conditions playing a pivotal role. Notably, insecurity has disrupted supply chains, hindered market access, and discouraged investment. Inadequate infrastructure compounds these challenges by impeding goods’ efficient movement and distribution to consumers. In addition, businesses, especially MSMEs, encounter obstacles in securing financing for expansion and working capital due to limitations within the financial sector, resulting in elevated borrowing costs. Furthermore, the region’s susceptibility to drought and climate-related concerns strains its economy. The situation is exacerbated by the insufficient availability of market information and limited access to digital technologies, further complicating the business landscape in Northeast Nigeria.
The Partnership Day event was made possible through the Feed the Future Rural Resilience Activity—a $49 million, five-year USAID-funded project that fosters economic recovery and growth in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe Taraba and Bauchi States. The Rural Resilience Activity has forged partnerships with economic organisations, non-profits, and public sector entities to improve marketplace opportunities for various groups, including women, youth, men, internally displaced persons, and individuals with disabilities. The ultimate vision of RRA is to establish a future where these improvements can be sustained without the need for ongoing external intervention, and their strategies are geared toward facilitating and upholding long-term changes.
Of the nearly 450 attendees, 342 were private sector actors actively or considering investing in Northeast States. They represent just a few of the over 600,000 beneficiaries the RRA activity is engaging. Speaking at last week’s event, Feed the Future Team Lead Jazmian D. Ohanyere remarked, “The Partnership Day event represents another crucial step to attract more businesses into the Northeast and facilitate partnerships through open dialogues, knowledge sharing, and relationship-building. At USAID, our commitment to building resilient communities, businesses, institutions, and households remains unwavering. ”