Most of Nigeria’s commitments towards regional development are products of policies such as the National Development Plans and River Basin Development Authorities. In recent times, these have been supplemented by initiatives such as Vision 2010, NV 20: 2020 and the Transformation Agenda economic blueprint.
The aim of these policies has been to generate growth simultaneously in all 6 geopolitical zones, and to provide the basis for regional planning and development by ensuring that both rural and urban areas are equipped for their proper role in the development of the national economy. Although there is an appreciable level of policy goals accomplishment, the observed gaps are due to weak implementation coordination and weak integration with the national economy, inadequate legal framework, and poor funding /resource allocation, and lack of integrated regional infrastructure clusters.
Against this background, the need is clear for integrated regional development policies that will cater for Nigeria’s immediate and future needs, and identify short-medium and long-term development programmes that can drive economic growth and prosperity. Such an integrated approach should aim to harness the beneficial effect of clustering certain sectors around prevalent basic resources. The concept of economic corridors should be the base for a large part of the regional distribution of infrastructure deployment across the different sectors.
The objectives of regional development are to:
- galvanise all existing regional development policies into a single integrated National Regional Development policy/framework;
- formulate integrated infrastructure clusters in the wider regional context;
- create a comprehensive rural-urban integration system and hierarchical ordering of settlements;
- improve accessibility of all areas within the country;
- balance economic development of the regions; and
- achieve economies of scale and high degree of self-sufficiency in food production;
In this plan, consideration has been given to infrastructure investment requirements across regions, based on regional starting position, natural endowments that can provide regional competitive advantage and serve as basis for regional planning and development of regional economic corridors.