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Experts, policymakers and administrators from four local government areas as well as Niger State ministries, departments and agencies in Nigeria recently participated in a workshop on strengthening rural-urban linkages.

The workshop was part of the implementation of the United Nations Development Account (UNDA) funded project “Leaving No Room Behind – Strengthening Urban-Rural Linkages in Selected Countries in Africa and Continued Engagement of Parties stakeholders on formulating evidence-based policy strategies to achieve sustainable cities.

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 the challenges, opportunities and offer policy recommendations to strengthen urban-rural linkages in the state. .

In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands and Housing of the State of Niger, Abdul Husaini, underlined that the Government of the State of Niger receives technical assistance from UN-Habitat in different areas. of development.

“This workshop is a platform to understand the importance of inter-ministerial and multi-level collaboration for territorial planning and improving service delivery across the urban-rural continuum in the state, thus leaving no room behind “, did he declare.

Professor Mustapha Zubairu, coordinator of the Niger State Urban Support Programme, said that the urban-rural nexus is an essential element for territorial development and the improvement of 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.

Remy Sietchiping, Chief of the Policy, Legislation and Governance Section of UN-Habitat, who participated virtually, commended the Niger State government for leading the discussion on strengthening urban linkages- in existing policy instruments, in particular the urban policy of the State of Niger.

He added that as participants come up with policy strategies, initiate development programs and projects, they should also take into account rural residents or communities who may be disenfranchised so that no place not be left behind.

Some of the policy recommendations put forward to strengthen urban-rural linkages in Niger State included: provision of resilient infrastructure such as rural feeder roads, river crossings/bridges to ensure the urban-rural continuum; improving 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.

Distributed by APO Group for UN Habitat.

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