Niger State, Nigeria 20 January 2022 - Experts, policymakers, and administrators from four Local Government Areas as well as Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Niger State in Nigeria recently participated in a workshop on strengthening rural-urban linkages.

The workshop was part of implementing the UN Development Account (UNDA) funded project “Leaving No Place Behind – Strengthening Urban-Rural Linkages in selected countries in Africa and continued engagement of stakeholders on formulation of evidence-based policy strategies for attaining sustainable towns and cities.

UN-Habitat and its implementing partner Niger State Government organised the one-day technical workshop with stakeholders and officials of the Niger State Government to validate the project’s outcomes on challenges, opportunities as well as proffer policy recommendations for strengthening urban-rural linkages in the State.

In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Niger State Ministry of Land and Housing, Abdul Husaini, highlighted that the Niger State Government has been receiving technical assistance from UN-Habitat on different developmental scope.

“This workshop is a platform to understand the significance of inter-ministerial and multilevel collaboration for territorial planning and improved service delivery across urban-rural continuum in the State thus leaving no place behind,” he said.

Prof. Mustapha Zubairu, Coordinator of the Niger State Urban Support Programme, said urban –rural linkage is a critical component for territorial development and improved rural economy.

“The present poor linkage across urban-rural continuum has not only put pressure on food security but also led to low returns on agriculture for rural farmers, growing inequalities and spatial disparities, hence there is need to strengthen the connection between rural areas and large urban centres with a coherent policy tool, developmental programmes and projects,” he said.

Remy Sietchiping, UN-Habitat’s Chief of Policy, Legislation and Governance Section, who participated virtually, commended Niger State Government for steering the discussion on strengthening urban-rural linkages in the extant policy instruments particularly the Niger State Urban Policy.

He added that as the participants proffer policy strategies, initiates developmental programmes and project, they should also consider rural dwellers or communities that could be disenfranchise so that no place will be left behind.

Some of the policy recommendations put forward for strengthening urban-rural linkages in Niger State included: providing resilient infrastructures such as rural feeder roads, river cross/ bridges to ensure urban-rural continuum; enhancing rural productivity and food security through improved seedlings, farm storage and procession facilities; providing fertilizers and extending services to rural farmers; strengthening the situation architecture in Niger State; establishing coherent framework of action for preparation and implementation of programmes/project across urban-rural continuum in the State.