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Increasing Economic Opportunity for Residents in the Niger Delta: A Problem-Driven Political Economy Analysis Open Access Deposited

The abundance of oil in Nigeria makes the Nigerian energy sector highly attractive to foreign investors. Most of the country’s oil production takes place in the Niger Delta, yet paradoxically, the Niger Delta is the poorest and most underdeveloped region in the country. More than 95 percent of the country’s export earnings are derived from petroleum oil, which has resulted in socioeconomic benefits for much of the country, except for the Niger Delta. The residents of the Niger Delta primarily depend on the environment for economic income. However, both the production of oil resources and resource-based conflicts have caused severe environmental harm to the Niger Delta region. These environmental effects have disrupted the residents’ economic activities, causing unemployment, food insecurity, and severe deprivations among the local people. Oil companies located in the region have been accused of not hiring local workers, instead relying on non-local Nigerians. This political economy analysis aims to research the underlying causes of occupational displacement among residents in the Niger Delta, as well as the implications of high unemployment for development in the region. Furthermore, the study seeks to understand how economic opportunity can be increased for the residents in the Niger Delta and recommends increasing efforts by both government and private sector actors to promote the understanding and use of information and communication technologies, incorporating community-driven development approaches by private companies in Nigeria, and tackling corruption in all levels of the Nigerian government.

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