Nigeria – Land, climate, energy, agriculture and development

2021 | O.E. Olayide

A study in the Sudano-Sahel Initiative for Regional Development, Jobs, and Food Security

Published as ZEF Working Paper 201. Read the full working paper here.


This review report involves the analysis and synthesis of literatures on climate change, land use, energy, livelihoods and sustainable development in Nigeria. The methodology employed in the review involves searching keywords related to the study objectives on relevant literature search engines and platforms, including Google Scholar and Cross Referencing through triangulation of search results. The articles were screened and validated for inclusion or exclusion based on relevance, content and context. The review process follows the sustainable livelihoods framework. The search returns are complimented with published reports. The report provides information on the current status and guidance on appropriate interventions and innovative investments in Nigeria. Specifically, this report provides a systematic literature review on: 1) situation and trends in energy and land use changes, 2) observed and projected impacts of climate change, 3) technological, socioeconomic and policy actions for sustainable land management and climate change adaptation and mitigation, 4) evaluation of
existing major policies and investments, and 5) conclusion and policy implications. Based on the assessment of literature in this study, the key trends and problems include inadequate attention to the agricultural sector over the years, which has caused a major setback in food security and productivity. Climate change has further exacerbated the problem through desertification,
drought and flooding across the country. The literature further revealed inadequate energy supply, distribution and low per capita consumption in Nigeria. The use of fuel wood for heating and cooking has significantly contributed to deforestation by worsening land degradation. Resulting implications are that food security is threatened and economic growth is hampered. Land degradation negatively impacts the environment and the rural poor whose livelihoods depend on it. Opportunities in agriculture and renewable energy should be further harnessed and forest and land use policies should
be enforced to ensure sustainable livelihoods. In Nigeria, policies and investment plans on land use, energy/electricity and agricultural livelihoods are not coherent and lack consistency in implementation. Thus, lack of strong institutions has resulted in the weak performance witnessed in programme and policy implementation on climate change mitigation, land use, energy and sustainable
development in Nigeria. Therefore, there is a need for productive, viable, sustainable policy and programmes that support climate change mitigation, land use, energy and sustainable development in Nigeria. Another important suggestion is the need for provision of renewable energy mix (off-grid)
in forms that are easily accessible and affordable by households. Adequate attention should be paid to the provision of bio-energy and the wider bio-economy framework, including the transformation of solid waste, wood waste and agricultural waste into bio-gas and energy. Overall, the investment landscape in Nigeria is improving, and various opportunities for investment in agricultural livelihoods and value chains, renewable energy, carbon trading and green bonds should be harnessed through public-private partnerships.