Market Development Programme in the Niger Delta, a DFID funded programme, has said its target is to increase the income of 30,000 vulnerable groups in Edo and Northern part of Delta State within the next two years.
The Investment Portfolio Manager, Edo State Investment Portfolio, a component of MADE II programme, Rufus Idris, disclosed this in Benin during a workshop on ‘Skill to Wealth: An Alternative to Irregular Migration,’ organised by Genius Hub with support from MADE, aimed at checking illegal migration.
“Our target in Edo and Northern Delta state is to increase the income of 30,000 vulnerable groups through stimulating alternative economic livelihood opportunities in aspirational sectors within the next two years. Also, we want to attract up to £10 million business investment in these aspirational sectors.”
According to him, MADE II is a market development programme in the Niger Delta region aimed at increasing income of 155,000 economically active poor people in the area.
He said the plan also include supporting organisations that are providing reintegration service and skills to returnees and vulnerable groups as well as reviewing and reshaping their approach of delivering in a way that is sustainable and can stem irregular migration.
“MADE is focusing on priority commercial sectors with strong inclusive growth potentials, namely, Agribusiness, ICT, entertainment, beauty and fashion, wholesale and retail trade, and the renewable energy sector. These sectors are termed aspirational due to their attractiveness to young people and vulnerable groups.”
“In stimulating £10 million investment, MADE has advanced discussions with lead firms outside Edo to see how they can expand their operations and investments. We are also working with government agencies such as Edo Jobs to map the entire 18 LGAs for agricultural produce of economic value that the state has comparative advantage to produce for high value national and international markets. MADE has also established partnership with the Edo investment promotion office to drive competitive investment to the state, starting with the development of an investment brochure showcasing the sectors in the state having comparative advantage, blue chip firms, burgeoning industries, potentially viable sectors, moribund sectors that could be revamped, relevant investor data, facts, figures and outlook for the state,” he said.
He explained that they collaborate with lots of private sector firms, NGOs, government agencies to reach target population as MADE only facilitates intervention delivery, adding that they are working with Genius Hub due to its reintegration of returnees and also helping to promote alternative livelihood for vulnerable groups that may also be victims of irregular migration.
He added that MADE was collaborating with NAME Foundation to create a pathway aimed at changing perceptions and behaviour in the creation of awareness about the negative aspects of human trafficking as well as acceptance of economic livelihood opportunities.
On her part, Mrs Isimeme Whyte of Genius Hub said they collaborate with MADE on skill to wealth to sensitise women, youths on irregular migration and introduced its reintegration programme to the returnees and other vulnerable groups.
She said it aimed to help the returnees to discover their God’s given special skills and talents and empower them on that, adding that they have been able to enable 650 returnees with various abilities.