Nigeria—State Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness, and Capability (SPARC)

Client: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Duration: 2008-2016

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Nigeria

Solutions: Governance Fragile States

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy. However, despite its economic dynamism, Nigeria’s inefficient resource management, widespread corruption, and a lack of accountability have undermined the government’s ability to translate this economic progress into inclusive growth and improved public services. Advancements in public administration, public financial management, and enhanced policy are crucial in helping government provide better services and reduce poverty.

The former U.K. Department for International Development (now called Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) launched the State Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness, and Capability (SPARC) to support the Nigerian government in better managing resources and providing more responsive and accountable services. SPARC worked in a partnership of FCDO programmes that included demand-side accountability and direct service delivery in health, education, and economic growth. The programme built on the success of its predecessor program, the State and Local Government Programme.

Over eight years, SPARC enabled responsive policy formulation and performance-focused public service by helping state governments improve revenue collection, reduce budgetary waste, and implement strategies for locally led planning that improved health, education, and economic growth. The programme worked in several fragile environments in Nigeria and achieved an A+ score from the client at every annual review and at the Project Completion Review.

Sample Activities

  • Supporting 10 state governments to undertake self-assessments of performance for collective corrective action and improving governance using innovative tools based on the Public Expenditure Financial Accountability assessment framework.
  • Working through the Federal Government and Federal agencies such as the Nigeria Governors Forum to leverage reform in specific states and throughout the Federal Republic, including fragile states.
  • Improving budgetary performance, including internally generated revenue, to support delivery of better government services in health, education, and economic growth, especially for marginalised groups.

Select Results


  • Supported 10 state governments to implement State Development Plans and Medium-Term Sector Strategies that improve health, education, and economic growth services.
  • Enabled these governments to reduce administrative costs and wage bills by clearly mapping mandates, merging departments, and implementing clear corporate plans.
  • Supported improved fiscal forecasting, generating more realistic and credible budgets, and reducing variance between budgets and actual expenditures. Niger State, for example, reduced variance from 51 percent in 2011 to just 13 percent in 2013.

Fragile States:

Worked in Zamfara and Yobe States, which suffer from varying forms of fragility connected to weak economic growth, unregulated mining, and insurgency.

Economic Growth:

  • Eliminated nearly £1billion of unrealistic financing from State Government budgets.
  • Generated £600 million increase in internal revenue and reduced the cost of governance.
  • Assisted Lagos State to qualify for three tranches of World Bank Development Policy Operations funding amounting to £350 million.
  • Enabled £400 million of additional spending by state governments on health and education services, contributing to economic growth.

Resources Publications and Toolkits

SPARC’s Resource Centre and interactive Help Desk features more than 600 documents, resources, and tools categorised by governance reform themes, best practices, and lessons learned with national and global partners.



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