As part of its support to the coordinated COVID-19 response in Nigeria, the Government of Japan has launched a series of initiatives aimed at cushioning the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on vulnerable communities –part of which is the Unconditional Cash Transfer Project. The N2.95 billion project, launched in partnership with the UNDP, Federal Government of Nigeria, Lagos and Kano State Governments will benefit over 39,000 individuals comprising household and SMEs/informal businesses in Lagos and Kano States.
Lagos and Kano States were two of the key hotspots at the onset of the pandemic recording 20,000 cases by Q4 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to trigger a 60 per cent decline in earnings for the world’s 1.6 billion informal workers, while half of the world is trying to survive without any form of social protection. In key local governments across both states, 32,200 families will benefit from cash transfers, while over 7,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will receive funding for business continuity or innovative start-ups that will benefit their communities.
This intervention is particularly crucial amidst looming repercussions for a second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic which has already brought adverse effects on Nigeria’s poor and vulnerable population. In drawing on lessons learned from the country’s ever-changing context to ensure that COVID support is dynamic and flexible, the Government of Japan has deployed a continuous stream of support in various states and across development indices aimed at restoring livelihoods, acceleratingearly recovery and building sustainable, resilient communities.
The Unconditional Cash Transfer Project comes on the back of other economic opportunities and rehabilitation projects funded by Japan comprising vocational skill programs, village saving and loans schemes, sexual and gender-based violence prevention campaigns, as well as trainings for community leaders. Between 2016 and 2020, the Government of Japan has allocated an estimated $10.5 million for economic recovery and peacebuilding of conflict-affected communities in Nigeria as part of the Integrated Community Recovery Programme implemented in partnership with UNDP.
The Government of Japan will continue to support the COVID-19 response in Nigeria through interventions covering risk communication, community engagement, strengthening state-level surveillance capacity, infection prevention/control; building case management capabilities of healthcare workers and strengthening hospital systems while liaising with Civil Society Organisations to deliver fast, effective pandemic response mechanisms.