USAID has a long and proud history of assistance to Nigeria that dates back to 1960, the year that Nigeria became the 26th African nation to gain independence. At that time, the U.S. Government awarded grants to four major U.S. state universities (Michigan State, Wisconsin State, Kansas State, and Colorado State) to build colleges of agriculture in four Nigerian universities: the University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria-Nsukka, Ahmadu Bello University-Zaria, and the University of Ife.
From 1994 to 1999, USAID programming in Nigeria was reduced due to political sanctions imposed due to an increase in drug trafficking. During that time, the USAID program was relatively small—about $7 million a year—and implemented entirely by NGOs. U.S. development assistance focused on population, health, child survival, democracy, HIV/AIDS, and support to advocacy groups. Despite their small size, the health and democracy programs achieved impressive results preventing a collapse in the provision of health care services in Nigeria prior to the country’s political transition and, after the transition, provided the building blocks that would help the new government lay a foundation for democracy.
In May 1999, the military dictatorship that devastated the economic and social capital of the country ended and an elected, civilian-led government that represented the will of the Nigerian people was created. This change led to the transformation of USAID’s relatively small health and democracy work into a fast-paced elections and subsequent transition program. Since the democratic transition, USAID in Nigeria has shifted from a small office to a robust mission that works in partnership with the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Our partnership with the people and government of Nigeria continues today with programs that prevent and mitigate conflict, strengthen government services and institutions, and improve Nigerians’ livelihoods. In partnership with the Nigerian people, USAID is unleashing a new spirit of innovation and results-based development. Our success depends on listening and connecting with local leaders and communities, leveraging trust and partnership to support the vital work that remains be done.