The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited has been in Nigeria for over 60 years, and is the largest foreign investor in the country. It operates a joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, TotalFinaElf and Agip.
A key objective for Shell is to develop Nigeria’s abundant oil and gas resources in a manner that brings economic wealth to the country, protects the environment and delivers benefit to people and communities. Shell’s community development programme has a key role to play in delivering this objective. In recent years, the programme has learnt to place greater emphasis on listening and learning from communities and NGOs and responding positively to local protest and concerns.
Today, the community development programme provides a wide range of infrastructure projects, including hospitals, health centres, school buildings, water schemes, electricity and roads. Social programmes, including youth training, scholarship awards, micro-credit and agricultural services are also included. The total cost of the programme is around $50 million annually.
Local partnerships with NGOs and development agencies are helping to ensure that communities are in control of their own projects, and are able to draw on best global practice in community development and local capacity building.
In 2000, Shell commenced an external stakeholder review of its community projects. The review, which is now conducted annually, provides independent advice and verification from external development experts, such as the World Bank, UNICEF, Pro-Natura and Nigerian Government agencies to help the company improve its community development performance.
Listening and responding to stakeholders through consultation is vital to the way Shell works. Shell has now held five multistakeholder workshops in Nigeria and they are an important forum for Shell to learn from stakeholders and to evaluate its future plans.