• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Germany winds down competitiveness project in Nigeria

Germany winds down competitiveness project in Nigeria

The German government through its agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) has completed its Nigeria Competitiveness Project (NICOP), stating that it facilitated earnings of over N650 million for small businesses.

NICOP, being part of the GIZ’s pro-poor growth and promotion of employment in Nigeria programme, is a four-year project which was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-funded by the European Union.

Speaking during the closeout event in Abuja, Markus Wagner, GIZ country director, said that the project was designed to support key value chains in Nigeria, with focus on tomato, pepper, ginger, leather, and garment.

For him, the project is aimed to promote structural transformation, to overcome coordination and linkage failures as well as improve access to regional and international markets.

“Since its commencement in April 2019, NICOP has focused on inclusivity and innovation to improve competitiveness throughout tomato, ginger, chilli, leather, and garment value chains.

“lt has worked to improve stakeholder coordination and address the challenges facing the business climate and access to finance by demonstrating sustainable commercial opportunities.

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“With the completion of all planned project activities in 2023 and the achievement of its objectives, NICOP is officially closing and handing over all initiatives to its implementing partners and beneficiaries,” he said.

Ana Vinambres, head of project NICOP, listed the achievements of the project to include: realisation of over N650 million earnings from exportation of goods produced by beneficiaries.

According to her, NICOP has pursued a proof of concept approach to demonstrate successful projects that could be refined, improved and replicated.

“NICOP’s wide variety of beneficiaries across the selected value chain such as smallholder farmers, cooperatives, commercial farmers, Processors, invited the adoption of the inclusive business approach.

“NICOP has empowered MSMEs to seize opportunities, add value, and improve livelihoods in the focal states of Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Ogun, Oyo, Lagos, Abia, and Kebbi.

“All activities have continuously supported women to deliver meaningful opportunities for economic empowerment through capacity development and better access to more diverse markets,” she said.

According to her, the project deepened beneficiaries’ access to market, and exposure to exhibitions and trade fares to increase product visibility.

“During the programme, over 1,300 farmers were trained on contract farming, over 200 farmers were engaged in contract agreements. We have over 29,000 beneficiaries in all the value chains.

“We had more than ten large market linkages facilitated for both farmers and processors.

“NlCOP’s achievements extend beyond economic impact. The project has also contributed to positive gender outcomes and has explored opportunities to incorporate digital and green solutions in proposals moving forward”, she added.