Philanthropy & the Humanitarian Crisis in Northeast Nigeria

Philanthropy & the Humanitarian Crisis in Northeast Nigeria

The Promise of Philanthropy and Private-sector Engagement

The private sector, separate from its philanthropic endeavors, has the potential to ease the plight of northeasterners and support the region’s growth and recovery. Northeast Nigeria, despite being a war zone, has experienced some economic growth relative to the rest of the country. In 2018, Yaw Nsarkoh, head of Unilever Nigeria, boasted to the Financial Times that the region was one of its fastest-growing markets in the country in part due to a revamped distribution system and local hires.

Private-sector investments assist humanitarian actors, resolving some of the infrastructure challenges that impede humanitarian access. Specifically, humanitarian workers have struggled with limited mobile reception and an inability to transit the region because military patrols and extremist attacks have closed off much of the state’s road network. MTN Nigeria, which lost 1,200 telecommunication masts to Boko Haram, recently repaired 90 percent of them and partnered with local business to ensure generators remain serviced, transforming the region into an important revenue stream for the company.

The Borno State Government is requesting more road and power projects to address access issues in the region. This year, Governor Babagana Umar Zulum directed the Borno State Roads Maintenance Agency to complete a road project in Biu LGA and reopened the Maiduguri-Dikwa road, which had been closed for five years due to insecurity.

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