LINKS is working to create a vibrant, diverse economy in three states across Northern Nigeria – Kano, Kaduna and Jigawa. Together, they act as a powerful engine for green economic growth for Nigeria’s people and communities.
Funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the primary focus of LINKS is to promote and facilitate investment and support private sector innovations that will make Nigeria’s economy more competitive, productive and inclusive. The programme is evolving, as our clients’ needs and as the context in Nigeria change, and LINKS is increasingly focused on “green growth” – bringing together work in climate-smart agriculture and green innovation, with work on the promotion of investment and access to finance.
From 2022-2025, LINKS is going to pilot and scale green innovations in the agribusiness sector and other supporting value chains – such as energy and transport – in a way that is inclusive and sustainable. The team will facilitate investment and finance into these new business models, taking them to scale.
LINKS’ continued work with private sector firms and strategic partnership with service providers and aggregators is at the core of encouraging and facilitating green growth in Northern Nigeria. We are also working with a wide range of actors to prove concepts, attract more private sector interest and facilitate financial flows.
Through the impact of LINKS, we are creating new jobs and increasing incomes – particularly for the poor and women – whilst ensuring delivery of International Climate Finance key performance indicators.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UK
To date, LINKS has supported the increase in incomes by over 25 per cent of over 48,000 people, helped create more than 2,100 jobs and facilitated over £14.4 million worth of investment into Northern Nigeria.
The programme’s overall aim is to increase the incomes of half a million people and to create jobs for 30,000 men and women. This work will be key to improving people’s resilience and capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change, and reducing greenhouse gases (GHG).
Green growth and climate-smart agriculture
In 2021, we launched three new pilot programmes to support Nigeria’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement:
LINKS is supporting rice farmers to adopt the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a climate-smart practice that increases the productivity of rice and reduces methane emissions. SRI has recorded good results for the first and second season pilots – training over 3,000 farmers, increasing yields on average by about 100 per cent and reducing GHG emissions by up to 41 per cent compared to traditional cultivation methods.
We have also supported the development of a data platform for Regenerative Agriculture (RegenAg), an advanced model that helps mitigate the effects of climate change and keep arable soil across Northern Nigeria. Over 30,000 sesame, groundnut and hibiscus farmers have been on-boarded to the platform and are now receiving quality input and training on RegenAg practices, as well as guaranteed offtake of their produce for export.
We have also initiated research into sustainable fibre alternatives to cotton, through agronomic trials of different varieties of the fibre crop, kenaf and supporting research and market linkages into the kenaf value chain for producers. Kenaf utilizes up to 50 per cent less water than cotton and has little to no requirement for use of fertilizers.
Access to finance and investment facilitation
• LINKS has provided technical assistance to domestic and foreign, large and small and medium enterprises in accessing finance to grow their businesses, establish new operations in northern Nigeria or reach export markets. This has included the facilitation of access to finance for over 340 micro, small and medium enterprises between 2021 and 2022. So far, this has facilitated over £14m in investment and working capital finance.
• We have also supported the strengthening of local actors such as investment promotion agencies to create an enabling environment in which to promote investment into LINKS priority states.
• Going forward, LINKS will continue to facilitate access to green finance, including supporting partners in accessing carbon financing.
In 2021, LINKS facilitated a loan which supported a local agricultural input provider, to expand its operations in selling and distribution of fertilizer, chemicals and other agricultural inputs. Through this expansion the firm supported over 7,000 smallholder farmers to increase their incomes by more than 25 per cent.
“We have never collected a loan in the past. But the LINKS investment team gave us first insights into the process and introduced us to a local bank. This bank offered us a very good deal which was processed within two weeks from the point of application. The LINKS investment team was instrumental to the success of the loan.”
Ahmad Mohammed, Managing Director