Zamfara in north-west Nigeria is an agricultural state, living up to its motto, farming is our pride. Over 70 per cent of its population of 2 million people are engaged in farming. The state is quite new, having been created in 1996, whilst its capital city Gusau is also new, having grown at the end of a railway line completed in 1927. The current Governor is Abubakar Yari, and he has overseen a number of positive governance reforms, such as computerising the payroll and undertaking staff audits, producing multi-year plans and budgets, and establishing a Debt Management Office.
During 2011, SPARC supported the government to undertake a series of self assessments which revealed some of the weaknesses and shortcomings which were still preventing effective service delivery. The programme is now engaging to support a strengthening of system procedures to see if progress towards the Millennium Development Goals can be improved.