The historic launch of the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund Private Sector Initiative (NHF-PSI) was held on 15 November 2018 at the Oando Wings Complex in Lagos, Nigeria. A global first, the NHF-PSI offers a blueprint for private sector engagement in humanitarian action through a country-based pool fund managed by the United Nations. By forming a joint enterprise between deeply committed private, public and non-governmental actors, the NHF-PSI presents a tremendous opportunity to raise the standard of the humanitarian response in Nigeria that can be duplicated around the world.
Although Nigeria boasts the largest economy in Africa, the 11-year conflict in north-east Nigeria has caused a deepening humanitarian crisis, now also compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. About 10.6 million people need humanitarian aid in the three worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Some 1.8 million people are displaced internally.
The NHF-PSI is a simple but powerful idea in response to this crisis. It is founded on the premise that Nigeria’s private sector not only cares profoundly for its nation’s most vulnerable, but also possesses the vision, resources and natural problem-solving ability to reduce it on an unprecedented scale if harnessed into collective action.
The first NHF-PSI Steering Group meeting was convened in March 2019 and was attended by 12 companies including Oando Plc, NESG, First Bank, Eco Bank, Access Bank, Siemens, Visa West Africa, Unilever, Nigeria Stock Exchange, Africa Finance Corporation, Oriental Energy Resources and Templars Law Firm. At this inaugural meeting the Terms of Reference was endorsed by the Members.
In 2019, the NHF-PSI led two CEO missions to Borno to raise awareness of the plight of the millions of people in the north-east states. The objectives of the visits were to directly inspire private sector by illustrating the positive impact of the NHF and to galvanize a new wave of donor support for the initiative from businesses across the country.
During two missions, the CEOs interacted with displaced men, women and children in two camps for internally displaced people in Maiduguri. The Companies and Banks that are part of the Private Sector Initiative reiterated their commitment to the humanitarian response and taking ownership of it.