Experts, policy makers and administrators from four councils as well as Niger State Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have developed new strategies to strengthen rural-urban linkages.
Stakeholders met as part of the implementation of the United Nations Development Account (UNDA) funded project “Leaving No Place Behind – Strengthening Urban-Rural Linkages in Selected African Countries”.
The forum is a stakeholder engagement on formulating evidence-based policy strategies to achieve sustainable cities and towns.
UN-Habitat and its implementing partner, the Government of Niger State, organized the one-day technical workshop with stakeholders and officials from the Government of Niger State to validate the results of the project on challenges, opportunities, as well as to make recommendations for strengthening urban-rural linkages in the state. .
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands and Housing of Niger State, Abdul Husaini, said that the Government of Niger State was receiving technical assistance from UN-Habitat on the various areas of development.
“This workshop is a platform to understand the importance of multi-departmental and multi-level collaboration for territorial planning and improving service delivery across the urban-rural continuum in the state, thus leaving no place behind,” he said.
The Niger State Urban Support Program Coordinator, Professor Mustapha Zubairu, said the urban-rural nexus is an essential element for territorial development and improving the rural economy.
“The current weak linkage between urban and rural areas has not only put pressure on food security, but has also resulted in low returns from agriculture for rural farmers, growing inequalities and spatial disparities, hence the need to strengthen the links between rural areas and major urban centers with a coherent policy tool, development programs and projects,” he said.
Chief of Policy, Legislation and Governance Section of UN-Habitat, Remy Sietchiping, who participated virtually, commended the Niger State government for leading the discussion on strengthening urban ties -rural in existing policy instruments, in particular the urban policy of the State of Niger.
He added that as participants strategize, initiate development programs and projects, they should also take into account rural residents or communities who may be disenfranchised so that no place be left behind.
Some of the policy recommendations put forward to strengthen urban-rural linkages in Niger State include: provision of resilient infrastructure such as rural feeder roads, river crossings/bridges to ensure an urban-rural continuum.
Others improve rural productivity and food security through improved seedlings, on-farm storage and processing facilities; provide fertilizer and extend services to rural farmers; the strengthening of the situational architecture in the State of Niger; establish a coherent policy framework for the preparation and implementation of programmes/projects across the urban-rural continuum in the State.