Cablegate: Nigeria: Outreach to Ncema and Niser

Published: Wed 5 Mar 2003 09:45 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. Introduction and summary. Staff of ConGen's Economic
Office reached out to two institutions of learning in the
city of Ibadan in Oyo State on February 25. This former
capital of Nigeria's old Western State is notable for
several research institutions including the University of
Ibadan, the premier institution of higher learning in
Nigeria. This report focuses on two key centers of learning,
the National Center For Economic Management and
Administration (NCEMA), and the Nigerian Institute of Social
and Economic Research (NISER.) International donors who
appreciate their activities should be able to work with
these institutions to leverage their own resources as they
seek to help Nigerians in the public and private sectors.
End introduction and summary.
The Nigerian Center for Economic Management
and Administration
2. NCEMA,the younger of the two Nigerian institutions, was
established by the federal government in 1986. The center
provides training to federal government officials who
formulate economic policies. Federal staff come from the
Central Bank of Nigeria, the Budget office in the Federal
Minister of Finance, and the National Planning Commission.
State civil servants also participate in these programs.
NCEMA's Research Approach
3. NCEMA approaches problem solving through policy
research. Professor Mike Obadan, the Director General of
NCEMA, said the Center's products are results oriented.
NCEMA's faculty comprises 22 researchers who also serve as
consultants to other institutions. The Center runs seminars
and symposiums annually. Among the former is an annual
federal budget seminar. Faculty members and other solicited
public officials often make presentations on topics of their
Efforts at Capacity Building
for GON Officials
4. NCEMA organizes budget workshops for the staff of the
National Assembly and the Assembly members too. NCEMA aims
to enhance their understanding of the budget process and its
implementation, to enable them contribute informed input or
amendments to the federal budget before its approval. The
Center is conducting a survey of corruption and governance
as well.
Relationship with International Agencies
5. The World Bank collaborates with NCEMA on several
aspects of economic management and capacity building. NCEMA
provides a training ground for Bank projects on capacity
building. Obadan said the Center formerly was linked with
the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom. NCEMA is
looking for opportunities to establish links with American
institutions. Professor Obadan expressed interest in
establishing a closer relationship with USAID.
The Nigerian Institute of
Social and Economic Research
6. NISER was established in 1950 during British rule in
Nigeria. The institute was then called WAISER (West African
Institute of Social and Economic Research) and focused its
research on the socioeconomic needs of the West African
countries under British rule. At independence, the former
British colonies went their own way. NISER was transformed
into an institute at the Nigeria's premier university, the
University of Ibadan. By 1977, NISER's "six-and-a-half"
research departments had become semi-autonomous. NISER's
researchers cover agriculture and rural development,
economic development, human resources development, physical
development, social development, technology policy and
development, and political development. What NISER staff
call its "half" department is the Center for African
Resources, a department with ad hoc staff pulled from
NISER's different research units. NISER has 60 full-time
professional researchers and its total staff numbers 400.
NISER Research Projects
7. Professor Olu Ajakaiye, Director General of NISER, said
NISER staff focus on four broad areas of activity. The first
is individual research designed mainly to sharpen the skills
of research staff. NISER's review of Nigerian developments
and its futures research also keep research staff abreast of
developments in the various spheres of Nigerian life. NISER
staff conduct annual monitoring research during which
NISER's research units audit their own performance. Lastly,
NISER provides consulting services to third parties.
8. NISER's Director General expects its researchers to spend
at least 50 percent of their time on research projects.
NISER has a close relationship with some government
agencies, such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, and is a
think-tank to other government agencies.
9. In collaboration with the World Bank, NISER hosted
seminars and workshops and provided input to Nigeria's five-
year development plans prior to Nigeria's implementation of
the first structural adjustment program (SAP) in 1986. The
SAP led to de-emphasis of long-range planning and emphasis
on short-term policy management. NISER has since been
conducting research on Nigeria's social and economic
development and on its prospects. NISER's research
documents often take the form of policy memoranda.
On-Going Relationship
with Donor Agencies
10. NISER is working on the GON's poverty reduction strategy
program (PRSP). NISER hopes its research will lead to its in-
depth understanding of poverty so to make substantive input
to the PRSP. NISER is executing a USAID-funded project on
legislative support to Nigerian states in collaboration with
the Mississippi Consortium for International Development.
Six states are benefiting from the program, which
essentially involves capacity building. NISER is carrying
out a corruption survey in collaboration with the Ahmadu
Bello University in Zaria, which is also funded by USAID.
And NISER is pursuing comparative research with Canada's
International Development Research Center and its African
affiliate, the Secretariat for International Support for
Economic Research in Africa.
11. NISER has a clear vision of where it wants to go. It
wants to augment capacity within Nigeria's civil service by
being the instrument of choice for restructuring the service
through short- and long-term training.
12. Comment. NCEMA and NISER potentially can play
important roles in shaping Nigeria's economic policies.
These institutions boast faculty members well grounded in
divers aspects of economic policy. The donors who appreciate
their activities should be able to work with these
institutions to leverage their own resources as they seek to
help Nigerians in the public and private sectors.
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