Nigeria—State Partnership for Accountable, Responsive, and Capable Government (SPARC); Accountable, Responsive, and Capable Government (ARC)

Client: U.K. Department for International Development

Duration: 2008-2021

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Nigeria

Solutions: Governance Fragile States

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and one that continues to grows in size and dynamism. However, inefficient resource management, corruption, and a lack of accountability have undermined the government’s ability to translate this economic progress into inclusive growth and improved public services for more Nigerians. Advancements in public administration, public financial management, and enhanced policy are crucial in helping the Nigerian government provide better services to its citizen and reduce high levels of poverty.

To promote progress in these key areas, the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) launched the Accountable, Responsive, and Capable Government (ARC) programme to support the Nigerian government in more effectively managing resources and providing more responsive and accountable services to its citizens. ARC works at both the state and national levels to build on the success of its predecessor program, the State Partnership for Accountability Responsiveness and Capability (SPARC). Over seven years, SPARC helped to support responsive policy formulation and encourage performance-focused public service in Nigeria by helping state governments to improve revenue collection, reduce budgetary waste, and implement strategies for locally led planning.

In implementing ARC, formerly known as the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn Pillar 1: Accountable, Responsive and Capable Government (ARC), DAI takes a collective action approach to reduce corruption and strengthen public accountability by working with stakeholders inside and outside of government. ARC also utilizes problem-driven iterative adaptation methods to improve public services by involving community members in identifying and solving specific issues.

Paying taxes in Nigeria

Sample Activities

  • Support state partners in moving to e-government services that create more secure, paperless platforms, and enhance service delivery while reducing costs.
  • Strengthen capacity of Nigerian think tanks to deliver high-quality research and use results for advocacy and to contribute to the country’s current policy debates.
  • Improve delivery of government services for marginalised groups, such as women living in poverty and people with disabilities, by collaborating with the State Accountability and Voice Initiative.

Select Results

  • SPARC helped state governments collect an additional £600 million in funds to support public services by improving domestic revenue mobilization, reclaiming funds from dormant bank accounts, reducing procurement costs, and recovering outstanding debts.
  • SPARC supported the development of 10 State Development Plans and strengthened linkage to budgets.
  • SPARC advocated for increased state spending on health and education, contributing to an additional £329 million in these sectors, which resulted in 2.1 million additional children enrolling in school and an additional 300,000 children receiving basic vaccinations.
  • SPARC set up an online resource center with more than 600 documents, resources, and reports that shared best practices, lessons learned, and data from SPARC activities.


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