Newly appointed Resident Representative for United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) has officially held her first media meeting in Abuja today. Samoura who assumed office in Feburary 2016 will also be serving as UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. Before coming to Nigeria, Ms. Fatma Samoura had served as Resident Representative for UNDP Madagascar and as head of the UN System in the country from October 2010.
According to her, ‘ In 2015, UNDP clocked 50 years in its mission to empowering lives and nations and our priority at UNDP and as the main development actor in Nigeria is to facilitate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is quite huge and all inclusive compare to MDGs, therefore it is expedient to privatise these 17 Goals for speedy and effective implementation. In other words, we are more than willing to be in partnership with private sectors in Nigeria.
She referred to the issues of gender parity in Nigeria as a critical one “women are underrepresented within the decision-making bodies in Nigeria, therefore we intend to work with more women so as to ensure gender parity in the country”.
While addressing poverty through economic diversification through UNDP perspective, she mentioned that Nigeria has experienced growth in the recent past. However, how this growth translates in poverty reduction depends on; the sources of this growth; how inclusive such growth is; and the degree of inequality that exists. ‘economic divide creates frustration in any country, she said. ‘At UNDP, we believe that expanding the sources of growth (diversification) and ensuring that is pro-poor are key elements necessary for reducing the levels of poverty in Nigeria. Through the Economic Policy and Inclusive Growth Unit, UNDP is providing strategic support to the Government of Nigeria in two key areas that will help expand this growth; these include; promoting agricultural transformation and strengthening the Solid Minerals Sector.’ she alluded.
In strengthening democratic governance, UNDP’s will continues to focus on strengthening the electoral process, providing policy support to the Government, and enhancement of transparency in the public sector, she affirmed. She further stated that UNDP will continue working closely with civil society leaders in partnering with the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption and in working closely with Anti-Corruption Agencies towards entrenching a culture of integrity in Nigeria. ‘We will continue engaging with and supporting the National Assembly and other stakeholders because we believe the fight against corruption requires the involvement of everyone’. she added.
When speaking on conflict resolution and peacebuilding in Nigeria, she said part of the agenda UNDP is the provision of support to conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and social cohesion. “The UN, EU and WB in partnership with the Federal Government and the North-East State Governments (Governors) are currently reviewing and finalizing a Recovery and Peace-Building Assessment (RPBA) report on the situation in the region. It is my wish that this joint exercise will continue to cement our partnerships and complementarity in accompanying Nigeria on its path to recovery, peace and development. part of my plans is to visit the North East Nigeria by the First week of April” she explained.