Humanitarian and Private sectors agree on Partnership

By Ugonma Cokey, Lagos.

President NRCS Mr. Bolaji Anani, President ICRC Mr. Peter Maurer, President LCCI Dr Nike Akande and Anthony Chiejina Group Head, Corporate Communication of Dangote.

Stakeholders in the private and humanitarian sectors have agreed to work towards a framework for a sustainable partnership.

The stakeholders reached the agreement at a preliminary session of the “Partnership Development Roundtable Meeting” convened by the Nigerian Red Cross Society, NRCS, and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, in Lagos.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the group said that the partnership was necessary to mitigate humanitarian crisis in Nigeria.

‘‘Joint assessment, planning, a shared vision, proper mutual working partnership based on realizing sustainable long term engagements was required to mitigate humanitarian crisis,’’ they stressed.

The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mr. Peter Maurer admitted that humanitarian needs today around the world were too big for any single entity to handle by itself.

He believes ‘‘Nigeria has all it takes to find answers to the huge humanitarian challenges in the country and beyond and that the corporate business has a major role to play in the quest.”

Maurer explained that “as humanitarians, we have to simultaneously increase assistance and raise more funds through new innovative partnership and products, with an eye on the fragile environments where escalations can rapidly lead to exploding humanitarian needs”

The President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande said that though some private sector organisations have made laudable humanitarian interventions to mitigate the crisis, it would work towards a framework for sustainable partnership between the private sector and humanitarian sector.

Humanitarian challenges
Regional Director for Africa, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC, Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoure noted that  the organisation was committed to addressing challenges faced in Nigeria through a well clear problem statement, proposed intervention, input and outcome/problem.

Nafo-Traore described the partnership as an opportunity to shape humanitarian sphere with approaches that are truly inclusive.

She said that the humanitarian sector looks up to the private sector as a vital partner in scaling up humanitarian response, adding that the Nigeria Society of the Red Cross will through benefits of Corporate Social responsibility programmes reach many more individuals in need and contribute to better livelihoods in Nigeria.

Over the past decade, humanitarian need has grown at a staggering rate, and especially so in Africa.

According to the United Nations (2015), the number of people who rely on humanitarian assistance has more than tripled, while the cost of responding to these disasters increased six-fold.

In the last 20 years, disasters have killed over 1.3 million people, affected more than 4 billion people and cost the global economy at least two trillion dollars.

Challenges in North East
Nigeria’s population of over 180 million has not been spared either. The country faces myriads of challenges including disease outbreaks and epidemics, high maternal and child mortality rates, poverty and malnutrition.

The North East region of Nigeria has had severe security challenges for several years particularly in Bornu where 48% of settlements remain inaccessible.

Boko Haram, the militant insurgency group operating in the area has displaced millions of people with thousands more fleeing into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The ICRC one of the oldest and largest humanitarian organisations, which spends about 40 % of its 1.6 billion dollar field budget on Africa, Nigeria being the largest.