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Innovative Financing Models and Sustainable Development in The Nigerian Industries; A Conceptual and Theoretical Review

Innovative Financing Models and Sustainable Development in the Nigerian Industries; A Conceptual and Theoretical Review

Jocelyn U. Upaa, Michael Iorlaha* and James I. Tyungu

Department of Accounting, Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria

*Correspondence Author


Received: 08 January 2024; Revised: 20 January 2024; Accepted: 24 January 2024; Published: 08 March 2024


This research paper explores the nexus between innovative financing models and sustainable development within the context of Nigerian industries. Nigeria, as a rapidly developing nation, faces multifaceted challenges concerning economic growth, social well-being, and environmental sustainability. Innovative financing models have gained prominence as a means to address these challenges, offering the potential to drive inclusive and sustainable development. The literature review delves into the dimensions of sustainable development, traditional financial models, and their limitations, as well as innovative financial models such as green bonds, impact investment, microfinance, and public-private partnerships. The study concludes with policy implications, offering recommendations for policymakers, regulatory reforms, capacity building strategies, and the importance of fostering collaboration among stakeholders to drive the adoption and effectiveness of innovative financial models for sustainable development in Nigerian industries. This research contributes to the discourse on sustainable development in emerging economies and provides valuable insights for policymakers, practitioners, and academics.

Keywords: Green bonds, impact investments, Innovative financing, microfinance, public-private partnerships, sustainable development


In the dynamic landscape of Nigeria’s industries, the intersection of innovative financing models and sustainable development stands as a beacon of transformative potential. The Nigerian economy, marked by its diversification efforts, faces the crucial challenge of balancing economic growth with environmental and social responsibility. Innovative financing models, encompassing a spectrum of mechanisms such as crowd-funding, impact investing, and green bonds, have emerged as powerful tools to bridge the gap between capital needs and sustainable development goals (Ali & Mohammed, 2018). In this vibrant ecosystem, the synergy between financial innovation and sustainable practices becomes pivotal, promising not just economic prosperity but also environmental preservation and societal well-being.

Nigeria, being Africa’s largest economy grapples with multifaceted challenges, including infrastructural gaps, environmental degradation and social inequality. Addressing these issues necessitates a paradigm shift in the way industries are financed and operated. Innovative financing models provide the much-needed impetus, offering agile solutions that align financial interests with sustainable initiatives (Salami & Olomola, 2016). By harnessing the power of these models, Nigerian industries can mobilize resources effectively for projects that enhance energy efficiency, promote renewable energy sources, and foster social inclusivity (Ogundele & Okoye, 2019). This confluence of financial innovation and sustainable development not only revitalizes industries but also contributes significantly to Nigeria’s vision of becoming a socially inclusive and environmentally responsible economic powerhouse.

Amidst these opportunities lies a challenge; the need for a comprehensive understanding of how innovative financing models can be tailored to the unique context of Nigerian industries. This intricate blend demands a nuanced approach that considers regulatory frameworks, investor sentiments, and societal needs (Yusuf & Bello, 2017). The pursuit of sustainable development through innovative financing is not a mere financial transaction; it is a strategic maneuver that demands foresight and creativity. This exploration delves into the intricacies of innovative financing models in the Nigerian context, exploring their potential to revolutionize industries and pave the way for a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future.


2.1 Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is a widely recognized concept that promotes economic, social, and environmental progress without compromising the needs of future generations. It emphasizes the importance of meeting the current generation’s needs while ensuring that resources and ecosystems are preserved for the well-being of future generations. This concept gained significant momentum with the publication of the Brundtl and Report in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development. The report defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED, 1987). This definition highlights the intergenerational and interconnected nature of sustainable development, emphasizing the need to balance economic growth, social equity, and environmental protection.

Sustainable development encompasses several key principles, including environmental protection, economic viability, and social equity. Environmental protection involves conserving natural resources, mitigating climate change, and preserving biodiversity. Economic viability focuses on fostering economic growth and prosperity while ensuring long-term stability and resilience. Social equity emphasizes the fair distribution of resources, opportunities, and benefits among all segments of society, addressing issues of poverty, inequality, and social justice. These principles are interconnected and mutually reinforcing, forming the foundation of sustainable development practices (United Nations, 2015).

In recent years, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have become a prominent framework for promoting sustainable development globally. The SDGs consist of 17 goals and 169 targets addressing various challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice. The goals provide a comprehensive road map for countries and stakeholders to work together towards a more sustainable future (United Nations, 2015). Achieving these goals requires collaborative efforts from governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals to implement sustainable policies, practices, and innovations.

Sustainable development is a vital concept that seeks to balance economic, social, and environmental dimensions to meet the needs of the present and future generations. It has gained international recognition through initiatives like the Brundtl and Report and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. By integrating environmental protection, economic viability, and social equity, sustainable development provides a holistic approach to addressing the world’s most pressing challenges, ensuring a better quality of life for all while preserving the planet for future generations.

2.2 Sustainable Development in the Nigerian Industries

Sustainable development in Nigerian industries is a critical and evolving concept that aims to balance economic growth, social equity, and environmental protection for the well-being of current and future generations. Nigeria, as one of Africa’s largest economies, faces numerous challenges in achieving sustainable development due to rapid population growth, resource depletion, and environmental degradation. To address these issues, Nigerian industries are increasingly focusing on sustainable practices, incorporating eco-friendly technologies, and promoting social responsibility initiatives.

In recent years, the Nigerian government has taken significant steps to promote sustainable development in industries. The National Policy on Environment emphasizes the need for sustainable industrialization, encouraging the private sector to adopt green technologies and sustainable business practices (Federal Ministry of Environment, 2009). Additionally, collaborations with international organizations like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have resulted in initiatives to enhance energy efficiency and promote renewable energy sources in Nigerian industries (UNDP Nigeria, n.d.). These efforts underscore the commitment to balancing economic growth with environmental and social considerations.

However, challenges remain in implementing sustainable development practices across all sectors. Limited access to financing, lack of awareness, and inadequate infrastructure pose hurdles for industries aiming to adopt sustainable technologies (Ite, 2013). Addressing these challenges requires a multi-stakeholder approach involving government bodies, private sector entities, and civil society organizations. Capacity building, technology transfer, and policy support are crucial to ensuring the successful integration of sustainable practices within Nigerian industries (Egwuonwu, 2018).

Sustainable development in Nigerian industries is a complex yet vital endeavor that necessitates comprehensive policies, technological innovations, and collaborative efforts. With the right strategies and continued commitment from various stakeholders, Nigerian industries can contribute significantly to the nation’s sustainable development goals while ensuring economic prosperity, social equity, and environmental preservation.

2.3 Traditional Financing Models

Nigeria, like many developing countries, has traditionally relied on conventional financing models to fuel its economic growth. These models often involve heavy reliance on debt financing from international organizations and governments. While these funds have been instrumental in initiating various development projects, they often come with high-interest rates and stringent conditions (Ajide & Raheem, 2020). The burden of debt servicing can divert financial resources away from sustainable business development initiatives, hindering the country’s progress towards achieving its sustainable development goals (United Nations Development Programme, 2015). Moreover, the volatility of global financial markets can impact Nigeria’s ability to secure affordable financing, making it challenging for businesses to plan for long-term sustainable growth (World Bank, 2019).

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the need to transition towards more sustainable financing models in Nigeria. Socially responsible investments and impact investing have gained traction, aligning financial goals with environmental and social objectives (Adenikinju, 2020). Such investments can drive sustainable business development by funding projects that promote renewable energy, environmental conservation, and social welfare programs. Additionally, microfinance institutions have played a crucial role in providing financial services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. By facilitating access to credit and financial resources, these institutions empower local entrepreneurs, fostering economic growth and sustainability at the grassroots level (Okurut, 2019).

2.4 Innovative Financing

The digital revolution has opened up new avenues for innovative financing models in Nigeria. Crowdfunding platforms, peer-to-peer lending, and mobile money services have democratized access to finance, enabling entrepreneurs to bypass traditional banking barriers (Ogundana, 2021). These fintech solutions have the potential to catalyze sustainable business development by providing flexible and inclusive financial services to a broader spectrum of the population, including those in rural areas (Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd., 2020). Embracing these emerging financing models can reduce dependency on traditional sources of funding, diversify the economy, and create a conducive environment for sustainable business growth in Nigeria.

Innovative financing refers to the utilization of creative and unconventional methods to raise funds for development projects, addressing the limitations of traditional funding sources. This concept has gained prominence in recent years, especially in the context of global development challenges. Innovative financing mechanisms encompass a wide array of strategies, including social impact bonds, microfinance, crowdfunding, and public-private partnerships (PPP). These approaches allow diverse stakeholders, from governments and philanthropists to private investors, to collaborate in funding initiatives that can have a meaningful societal impact.

One prominent example of innovative financing is the use of social impact bonds (SIBs), where private investors provide upfront funding for social programs, and governments repay them with a return on investment if predetermined social outcomes are achieved (Nicholls, 2010). This approach incentivizes efficient and effective program implementation, shifting the focus from inputs to measurable outcomes. Another innovative financing tool is microfinance, which enables small-scale entrepreneurs, often in developing countries, to access credit and financial services that are otherwise unavailable to them (Duflo, 2003). Microfinance institutions operate by providing small loans to individuals or groups, fostering entrepreneurship, poverty alleviation, and economic empowerment.

Moreover, crowdfunding platforms have emerged as a powerful tool for financing innovative ideas and projects. Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow entrepreneurs and innovators to showcase their projects and attract funding from a large number of individual backers (Belleflamme, Lambert, & Schwienbacher, 2014). This democratization of funding sources enables innovators to bypass traditional financial intermediaries, fostering a direct connection between creators and supporters. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) represent another facet of innovative financing, involving collaboration between public and private sectors to deliver public services or infrastructure projects (World Bank, 2017). PPPs leverage private sector efficiency and innovation while ensuring public oversight and social welfare objectives.

Innovative financing is reshaping the landscape of funding development projects by diversifying funding sources and promoting efficient, outcome-oriented approaches. The utilization of social impact bonds, microfinance, crowdfunding, and public-private partnerships showcases the diverse strategies employed in innovative financing. As societies face complex challenges, these creative financial mechanisms offer the flexibility and responsiveness needed to address social, economic, and environmental issues effectively.

2.5 Influence of Innovative financing Models on sustainable Business development

It is in no doubt in recent years, innovative financing models have emerged as key drivers of sustainable business development globally, including in Nigeria. One of the most impactful methods is Impact Investing, where investors actively seek projects and companies that can generate positive social and environmental impact alongside financial returns. This approach aligns with Nigeria’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and encourages businesses to focus on sustainable practices (Global Impact Investing Network, 2021). Impact investing channels funds into enterprises addressing pressing social and environmental issues in Nigeria, creating a positive impact on local communities and ecosystems while ensuring economic growth (Global Impact Investing Network, 2021).

Furthermore, the rise of crowdfunding platforms has democratized investment opportunities, allowing smaller investors to contribute to sustainable business projects. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo enable entrepreneurs to showcase their sustainable business ideas, gain public support, and secure funding without relying solely on traditional financial institutions (Belleflamme, Lambert, & Schwienbacher, 2014). This democratization of investment encourages a diverse range of sustainable business initiatives in Nigeria, fostering innovation and creativity while bolstering the local economy.

Moreover, the integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria into investment decisions is gaining momentum globally. Investors are increasingly considering a company’s ESG performance, promoting transparency, ethical business practices, and environmental stewardship (Clark, Feiner, & Viehs, 2015). This shift in investment focus encourages Nigerian businesses to adopt sustainable practices, reducing their environmental footprint and enhancing social responsibility, ultimately fostering long-term resilience and positive development.

Additionally, the emergence of green bonds and social impact bonds provides innovative financing options for sustainable initiatives in Nigeria. Green bonds fund environmentally friendly projects, such as renewable energy and clean water initiatives, driving sustainable development (Climate Bonds Initiative, 2021). Social impact bonds, on the other hand, enable private investors to finance social programs, such as education and healthcare, with returns based on the program’s success in achieving predetermined outcomes (Social Finance, 2021). These financial instruments not only provide much-needed capital for sustainable projects but also encourage collaboration between public and private sectors, driving positive social and environmental change in Nigeria.

The adoption of innovative financing models, such as impact investing, crowdfunding, ESG integration, green bonds, and social impact bonds, is poised to significantly influence sustainable business development in Nigeria. These models not only provide financial support to businesses but also encourage the adoption of environmentally friendly practices, ethical business conduct, and social responsibility. As these initiatives gain traction, they will likely contribute to the achievement of Nigeria’s sustainable development goals, fostering economic growth, social equity, and environmental conservation in the country.


Certainly, there are several theories related to innovative financing models and sustainable development in industries, including those in Nigeria. Here are three key theories that can be applied to this topic:

3.1 Resource-Based View (RBV) Theory

The Resource-Based View (RBV) theory, introduced by Werner felt in 1984 and further developed by scholars like Barney and Penrose, emphasizes the significance of a firm’s internal resources and capabilities in achieving sustainable competitive advantage. The theory assumes that firms are heterogeneous in terms of their resources and capabilities, leading to performance differences across organizations. Resources, which include tangible and intangible assets, and capabilities, which refer to a firm’s ability to deploy resources strategically, are considered valuable if they are rare, difficult to imitate, and non-substitutable. This theory has been widely used in the field of strategic management to analyze how firms can leverage their unique resources and capabilities to gain a competitive edge. In the context of innovative financing models and sustainable development in Nigerian industries, the RBV theory suggests that firms need to identify and exploit their distinctive resources and capabilities to attract innovative financing sources. By doing so, they can enhance their financial stability and invest in sustainable development initiatives, aligning their internal strengths with the external financial support to foster long-term growth and competitiveness.

In the context of innovative financing models and sustainable development in Nigerian industries, the RBV theory offers valuable insights. By identifying and leveraging their unique resources, Nigerian industries can create innovative financing models that align with their internal capabilities. For instance, a company with strong research and development capabilities might attract venture capital or research grants for sustainable technology projects. Similarly, a firm with robust intellectual property assets can explore licensing agreements or collaborations with investors to fund sustainable initiatives. By aligning their resources with innovative financing options, Nigerian industries can drive sustainable development efforts effectively. This strategic approach, rooted in the RBV theory, can lead to the creation of tailored financing solutions that not only address short-term financial needs but also contribute significantly to the long-term sustainable development goals of the Nigerian industries.

3.2 Institutional Theory

Institutional Theory, propounded by Douglas North in the late 20th century, posits that institutions, both formal (such as laws and regulations) and informal (like norms and culture), significantly shape the behavior and choices of individuals and organizations within a society (North, 1990). The theory is rooted in the fundamental assumption that institutions provide the framework within which economic, social, and political interactions occur. In the context of innovative financing models and sustainable development in Nigerian industries, Institutional Theory is crucial. Nigerian industries operate within a complex institutional environment, marked by a mix of formal regulations and informal practices. Understanding this institutional context is essential for devising innovative financing models that support sustainable development. Institutions influence the availability of financial resources, the perception of risk, and the willingness of investors to engage in innovative financing approaches. For instance, formal financial regulations and government policies affect the accessibility of loans and investments, while informal norms and social networks influence trust and cooperation among industry stakeholders. By comprehensively analyzing the Nigerian institutional landscape, stakeholders can design financing mechanisms that align with the existing institutional framework, promoting sustainable development in the country’s industries.

In the context of Nigerian industries, Institutional Theory’s relevance becomes even more evident in light of its impact on innovative financing models and sustainable development initiatives. According to DiMaggio and Powell (1983), institutional isomorphism drives organizations to conform to established norms and practices in their field, thus shaping the evolution of industries. In the Nigerian context, understanding the institutional pressures and isomorphic processes is crucial for the development and implementation of innovative financing models. These models need to align with the prevailing institutional norms to gain acceptance and foster sustainable development. For instance, sustainable development initiatives often require long-term investments and collaborations. Institutional Theory highlights the importance of legitimacy and the role of formal and informal institutions in granting legitimacy to new financing approaches. By acknowledging the influence of institutions, stakeholders can design financing models that not only meet the financial needs of Nigerian industries but also gain acceptance and support from relevant institutional actors, leading to more effective and sustainable outcomes in the pursuit of economic development in the country.

3.3 Stakeholder Theory

Stakeholder theory initially proposed by R. Edward Freeman in 1984, centers on the idea that businesses should consider the interests of various stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, communities, and shareholders, when making decisions. The fundamental assumption is that these stakeholders significantly influence and are influenced by the organization’s activities, and their concerns should be taken into account for ethical and sustainable business practices. This theory emphasizes the importance of balancing the interests of multiple stakeholders, not just shareholders, and suggests that by doing so, companies can achieve long-term success and contribute positively to society.

In the context of innovative financing models for sustainable development, the Stakeholder Theory is crucial. Nigerian industries, like many others globally, need sustainable development strategies that go beyond profit maximization. By considering the needs of diverse stakeholders, such as local communities and environmental organizations, businesses can implement financing models that not only promote their economic growth but also address societal and environmental challenges, fostering sustainable development in the Nigerian context (Freeman, 1984).

However, it is essential to acknowledge that the application of Stakeholder Theory to innovative financing models in Nigerian industries is not without challenges. Balancing the interests of diverse stakeholders can be complex, especially in an economic landscape like Nigeria’s, which faces unique socio-economic issues. Nevertheless, by integrating Stakeholder Theory into financial strategies, companies can potentially create innovative financing mechanisms that address the specific needs of local communities, promote social responsibility, and foster environmentally sustainable practices. Scholars and practitioners must continue to explore and adapt Stakeholder Theory to the Nigerian industrial context, ensuring that innovative financing models align with the theory’s principles, thereby contributing to the sustainable development goals of the nation (Freeman, 1984).


In summary, the integration of innovative financing models within the Nigerian industries has ushered in a new era of sustainable development. Impact investing, crowdfunding, ESG criteria incorporation, and specialized financial instruments like green bonds and social impact bonds have collectively transformed the landscape. These approaches have not only injected much-needed capital into businesses but have also instilled a sense of social and environmental responsibility. By attracting diverse sources of funding and encouraging transparency, these models have facilitated the growth of sustainable initiatives, from renewable energy projects to social welfare programs, fostering economic resilience and inclusive development across various sectors.

In conclusion, the symbiotic relationship between innovative financing models and sustainable development in Nigerian industries highlights a promising trajectory. As these financial strategies continue to gain traction, they are catalyzing positive change, aligning businesses with global sustainability goals, and fostering a culture of innovation. This integration is not only pivotal for the environmental conservation and social equity but also for ensuring the long-term economic viability of Nigerian industries. The commitment to these models not only ensures a brighter and more sustainable future for the country but also sets an inspiring example for the global community, showcasing the potential of innovative financing in driving impactful and enduring change.


In line with the foregoing discussion, the following recommendations for implementing innovative financing models to promote sustainable development in the Nigerian industries are made:

  1. Capacity Building and Awareness Programs: Initiating capacity building programs for entrepreneurs, financial institutions, and investors can enhance awareness about innovative financing models. Workshops, seminars, and training sessions can educate stakeholders about impact investing, crowdfunding, green bonds, and social impact bonds. These programs can empower businesses with the knowledge and skills necessary to access these financing options and integrate sustainable practices into their operations.
  2. Government Support and Policy Framework: The Nigerian government can play a pivotal role in promoting innovative financing models by creating conducive policy frameworks. Implementing regulations that incentivize businesses adopting sustainable practices, offering tax breaks or subsidies for green initiatives, and simplifying bureaucratic processes for accessing green funds can encourage industries to invest in sustainable projects. Government-backed initiatives can provide a safety net, encouraging private enterprises to explore innovative financing avenues.
  3. Collaboration and Partnerships: Encouraging collaboration between public and private sectors, as well as fostering partnerships with international organizations and development agencies, can unlock significant resources for sustainable development. Public-private partnerships can pool financial resources, expertise, and technology, promoting the implementation of large-scale sustainable projects. Collaboration with international entities can bring in global best practices, funding, and knowledge exchange, enriching the sustainable development landscape in Nigeria.
  4. Research and Data Collection: Investing in research and data collection focused on sustainable development metrics can provide valuable insights into the impact of innovative financing models. Data-driven analysis can assess the effectiveness of various financing strategies, identify successful case studies, and measure the long-term impact on environmental conservation and social welfare. This information can guide policymakers, investors, and businesses in making informed decisions, ensuring that financial resources are allocated efficiently to sustainable initiatives.
  5. Incentivizing Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Creating competitive funding schemes and grants specifically dedicated to sustainable innovation can spur entrepreneurship in Nigeria. By offering financial incentives to startups and businesses developing eco-friendly technologies or sustainable business models, the government can nurture a culture of innovation. These incentives can include grants, low-interest loans, or equity investments, encouraging entrepreneurs to explore groundbreaking solutions that address environmental challenges while driving economic growth.

By implementing these recommendations, Nigeria can harness the potential of innovative financing models, driving sustainable development across its industries and contributing to the nation’s long-term economic, social, and environmental well-being.


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