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The Federal Republic of Nigeria, herein Nigeria, is located along the inner corner of the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa. It is bordered by Benin to the west, Niger to the north, and Chad and Cameroon to the east; its south coast is along the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria has an area of ​​923,768 km², with 853 km of coastline. Nigeria is located primarily in the humid lowland tropics, thus characterized by three distinct climatic zones, a tropical monsoon climate in the south, a tropical savannah climate for most of the central regions, and a hot, semi-arid Sahelian climate in the north [1].

Nigeria is a federal presidential republic, consisting of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The States and FCT are further sub-divided into 774 Local Government Areas or Area Councils for grassroot administration [2]. The capital city of the country is Abuja, located in the center of the nation, while Lagos is the country’s primary seaport, economic hub, and the largest city. English is the official language of Nigeria. Besides English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, and Creole English are also widely spoken [3].

Important National Context

Nigeria’s population is estimated at over 218 million (in 2022), which is about half the population of West Africa. The country has an estimated annual population growth rate of 2.4% [4], one of the fastest rates in the world [5]. According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, more than half of the projected increase in global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just 8 countries, one of which is Nigeria [6]. Nigeria’s population is projected to reach 402 million people by 2050. The two main characteristics of this growth are the young age structure with more than two-fifths of the population (42.8%) falling below 15 years and the persistently high fertility rate of 5-7 children per woman [7].

Approximately 50% of the Nigerian population live in urban areas (as of 2021) and this is expected to rise to 60% and 70% by 2030 and 2050, respectively [1]. In Nigeria, there is also a considerable migration between the north and the south. Large numbers of migrants from the south have settled in the northern cities, while the central region remains the least populated and least developed part of Nigeria, comprising about two-fifths of the country's land area but home to less than a fifth of the total population [3].

Nigeria is a lower-middle-income country and has been the largest economy in Africa since 2012 [1], [2]. The country has an abundance of natural resources and is one of Africa's largest oil producers [8]. Between 2005 and 2014, Nigeria’s economy witnessed an average annual growth rate of 7.2%. This relatively stable growth was due to strong and stable macroeconomics, supported by the oil sector growth, as well as the inclusion of previously neglected sectors such as the entertainment industry and ICT in the GDP computation. The GDP growth rate declined dramatically to 2.8% in 2015 and -1.6% in 2016, showing underlying weaknesses in the macroeconomic fundamentals [7].

Nigeria’s dependence on oil exports is one of the leading causes of its frail growth prospects; it may also prevent any growth from being broad-based. In 2019, oil accounted for more than 80% of the country’s total exports and contributed 10% of Nigeria’s GDP. As such, Nigeria’s economy is extremely exposed to changes in global oil production and global oil prices. Moreover, despite oil’s importance for exports, extractive industries are not a large employer in Nigeria. This means any growth due to oil production would not necessarily be shared among workers and households: less than 1% of working Nigerians are employed in mining and extractives, with the share being even smaller among those from poor households [9].

As of 2021, the country has an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$440.78 billion, which is expected to reach US$445.00 billion by the end of 2022 [10]. Nigeria’s economy grew faster than expected in 2021 and recouped losses of growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a contraction of 1.8% in 2020, the economy rebounded and grew by 3.6% in 2021, driven by base effects in most services and manufacturing and organic growth in agriculture, telecommunications, and financial services. Despite the improvements in growth prospects, according to the Nigeria Development Update Report of June 2022 [11], inflation in 2022 in Nigeria is expected to rise higher than anticipated, due to the higher global fuel and food prices caused by the current war in Ukraine. The increased inflationary pressures following the Ukraine war are expected to push as many as one million more Nigerians into poverty by the end of 2022. Overall, the “inflation shock” is estimated to result in about 15 million more Nigerians living in poverty between 2020 and 2022 [11].  In 2018/19, before COVID-19, some 40.1% of Nigerians, about 82.9 million people, were already living in poverty [9].

While Nigeria has made some progress in socio-economic terms in recent years, Nigeria continues to face enormous development challenges, including the need to reduce its dependence on oil and diversify the economy, address poor infrastructure and build strong and effective institutions, as well as addressing its governance issues and public financial management systems [12].

Technology and innovation are key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and therefore a pathway to global sustainability. Nigeria has a science, technology, and innovation (STI) policy that reflects the government’s commitment to research and innovation. In the second quarter of 2022, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) contributed 18.4% to GDP, which is higher than their contribution in the same quarter of 2021 [13]. The ICT sector is also growing faster than any other economic sector in Nigeria. In 2020, the sector grew by 12.9%, the only sector with double-digit growth in that year. This strong growth is driven by the innovative activities of entrepreneurs, and is also enabled by recently introduced policies including the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020-2030), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) and E-Government Masterplan [14].

Nigeria is among the top ten countries in the world most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and natural hazards [1]. One significant event in Nigeria was the 2012 floods, which affected 7 million people in 30 of the 36 states, displaced 2.3 million people, killed 363 people, and cost the economy an estimated USD 17.3 billion or 1.4% of the country’s GDP [15].

There are also several social and religious conflicts in the country, among them the Boko Haram insurgency, the Niger Delta militancy, and ethnic challenges [7]. All of these have led to colossal loss of lives and properties and have also generated wider divides.

Environmental Governance

Nigeria has adopted several policies and strategies for environmental protection and natural resource management. The National Policy on the Environment (Revised 2016) sets out the basic rules and principles for environmental management and development, and the appropriate legislation, guidelines, and standards for Environmental Impact Assessments in Nigeria. The Federal Ministry of Environment, created in 1999, is responsible for the implementation and coordination of environmental actions, as well as the integration of environmental issues and climate change into the various social and economic sectors of the country.

In general, however, Nigeria faces many environmental challenges which are compounded by the cascading effects of climate change. The recent National Development Plan 2021-2025 [14] provides a roadmap for economic recovery and poverty reduction, aiming to achieve the government’s commitment of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty (in 10 years). Additionally, the Plan contains significant environmental sustainability aspirations including, among others, emission reductions, strengthened disaster management, and increased access to finance and technical support for businesses and projects in environmentally sustainable sectors.

National context alignement with the EU Green Deal

The European Green Deal is a key priority for the European Union (EU) and its cooperation with partner countries, including Nigeria. In line with the EU Green Deal, the EU has applied an integrated approach combining all instruments at its disposal to support Nigeria's progress towards peace, stability, democracy, and sustainable development.

Historically, the EU has actively and substantially supported Nigeria's development and economic growth plans. Previous EU actions under the 11th National Indicative Program (NIP) 2014-2020 for Nigeria were linked to the country's development plans and totalled EUR 512 million for the period 2014-2020. The NIP focused on three priority sectors: (1) health, nutrition, and resilience, (2) sustainable energy and access to electricity, and (3) rule of law, governance, and democracy [16].

The EU has now defined its priority areas and specific objectives for EU-Nigeria cooperation for the period 2021-2027 and has allocated €508 million for the initial period (2021-2024). The Multi-annual Indicative Program (2021-2027) identifies 3 priority areas as particularly important for the EU’s future engagement with Nigeria: (i) Green and digital economy; (ii) Governance, peace and migration; and (iii) Human development. Under the Green and digital economy priority area, the EU will support Nigeria to boost its sustainable agri-(aqua) cultural production to address food insecurity, while mitigating and adapting to climate change, reducing environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, increasing agricultural exports, and promoting job creation/entrepreneurship for women and young people; expand its renewable and smart energy and promote the circular economy; and enhance Nigeria’s innovation and digitalisation potential, while creating new smart jobs [17].

A Team Europe Initiative (TEI) focusing on the Green Economy has also been prepared. The ‘Nigerian Green Economy Alliance’ Team Europe Initiative would support the Nigerian government’s efforts to diversify the economy through enhancing access to renewable energy for productive uses, integrating circular economy principles in the economic development model, and boosting development of the agricultural sector. Collectively these actions would help Nigeria attain the SDGs and put the country on a path towards sustainable development [17].

Key Environmental-Development Challenges

Climate Change

Due to a combination of political, geographic, and social factors, Nigeria is recognized as highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The country is exposed to many natural hazards and is prone to floods, storms, ocean surges, droughts and wildfires [1].  

Climate change trends are expected to increase the risk and intensity of flooding in Nigeria, through increased frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events. Additionally, the country’s eastern and central areas are expected to experience increased aridity and drought, with significant impacts on livelihoods and food security [1]. Sea level rise is also expected to increase Nigeria’s vulnerability to floods and waterborne diseases, in the southern cities such as Lagos and coastal areas [18]. An estimated 24% of Nigeria’s population (approximately 41 million people) are living in areas of high climate exposure [1]

Significant climate impacts are expected for the country’s water resources, agriculture, wetland areas, and health sectors [1]. In the absence of adaptation, a 2009 DFID study estimated that between 2-11% of the country’s GDP could have been lost by 2020 [15]. By 2050, climate change inaction could cost Nigeria between 6%–30% of the country’s GDP, equivalent to a loss of US$100–460 billion [1]. Climate change, therefore, poses a significant threat to the achievement of the country’s development goals, especially those related to eliminating poverty and hunger, and promoting environmental sustainability [15].



Biodiversity plays a vital role in the livelihoods and survival of many Nigerians. It provides diverse ecosystem services, including climate regulation, provision of food and medicine, raw materials, and aesthetic values [19], [20]. Nigeria’s rural population is highly dependent on the country's varied forms of biodiversity endowment. For example, about 70% of Nigerian households, mostly in rural and semi-urban areas, rely heavily on firewood consumption for their domestic and to a large extent commercial energy needs. In addition, tourism is one of Nigeria's fastest growing industries and is reliant on wildlife, nature reserves, resorts, and an abundant water supply for recreation [21].

However, biodiversity is undervalued in Nigeria and the country’s biological resources are continually threatened by increasing rates of ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss [19]. According to Nigeria’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2015), deforestation and environmental degradation is estimated to cost the country over $6 billion a year [21].



[1] Climate Risk Profile: Nigeria (2021): The World Bank Group.

[2] Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Republic of Nigeria (2020). Second Biennial Update Report (BUR2) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

[3] Britannica (2022). [Online]. Available:

[4] United Nations (2022). World Statistics Pocketbook, 2022 edition.

[5] The Conversation (2022). Nigeria’s large, youthful population could be an asset or a burden. [Online]. Available:

[6] United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2022). World Population Prospects 2022: Summary of Results. UN DESA/POP/2022/TR/NO. 3.

[7] Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria (2021). 2050 Long-Term Vision for Nigeria (LTV-2050).

[8] Bloomberg UK (2022). Angola Tops Nigeria as Africa’s Biggest Oil Producer in August. [Online]. Available:

[9] Lain, Jonathan William; Vishwanath, Tara. A Better Future for All Nigerians : Nigeria Poverty Assessment 2022 (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.

[10] TRADING ECONOMICS (2022). [Online]. Available:

[11] World Bank (2022). The Continuing Urgency of Business Unusual (English). Nigeria Development Update Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.

[12] World Bank (2022). [Online]. Available:

[13] ecoFin agency (2022). Nigeria: ICT contributes 18.44% to Q2-2022 real GDP, thanks to the telecom segment. [Online]. Available:

[14] Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Federal Republic of Nigeria (2021). NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN (NDP) 2021-2025 Volume I.

[15] Federal Ministry of Environment, The Federal Government of Nigeria (2021). Nigeria’s First Nationally Determined Contribution – 2021 Update.

[16] European Union (2014). 11th EDF NATIONAL INDICATIVE PROGRAMME FOR NIGERIA FOR 2014 –­ 2020.


[18] USAID (2021). NIGERIA Climate Change Country Profile.

[19] Akindele, E.O., Ekwemuka, M.C., Apeverga, P. et al. Assessing awareness on biodiversity conservation among Nigerians: the Aichi Biodiversity Target 1. Biodivers Conserv 30, 1947–1970 (2021).

[20] Lohbeck, M., Bongers, F., Martinez-Ramos, M. and Poorter, L. (2016), The importance of biodiversity and dominance for multiple ecosystem functions in a human-modified tropical landscape. Ecology, 97: 2772-2779.