Although Delta State’s overarching economic aim is to diversify away from hydrocarbons, its well-established oil and gas sector provides a strong framework to bolster industrial growth. Combined with the state’s agriculture output, road network and large deposits of raw materials, its industrial potential bolsters its non-hydrocarbons growth prospects.

Given the state’s historical focus on oil and gas, the industry and manufacturing sectors are still in relatively early stages of development. However, from 2016 to 2019 the state government made progress in improving the business environment and helping “encourage, protect and promote the rapid development of the manufacturing and other allied commercial sectors in the state in order to grow the economy, create wealth and generate job opportunities”, according to the Delta State Medium-Term Development Plan (DSMTDP) 2020-23.

Industrial & Manifacturing Base

In light of the state’s broader economic diversification and industrial growth, several non-oil sectors have seen their share in the economy expand in recent years. Delta State reported industrial growth of 13.2% between 2016 and 2020, with agriculture, mining and quarrying, and manufacturing accounting for 13.2%, 47.5% and 5% of the state’s GDP in 2020, respectively.

The current government’s SMART Agenda is based on five pillars: strategic wealth creation, meaningful peace-building, agriculture and industrialisation, relevant health and education policy, and environmental transformation through urban renewal. In support of these objectives, the state has launched a number of development initiatives for its residents, including the following programmes: Skills Training and Entrepreneurship; Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs (YAGEP); Rural Youth Skills Acquisition; Girl Entrepreneurship and Skills Training; Women Entrepreneurship and Skills Acquisition; and ICT Youth Empowerment. The goals of such initiatives is to develop the skills of young people and encourage the creation of new businesses to support the state economy and its diversification efforts.

Agriculture remains the largest employer in Delta State, with the DSMTDP 2020-23 estimating that the sector accounted for over 70% of the state’s workforce. Investment in YAGEP and new transport infrastructure, as well as the development of industrial parks, is expected to add value to the sector, supporting the expansion of the agro-industry sector, encouraging greater investment and creating more job opportunities for residents.


The state government has allocated funds from the annual budget to develop several industrial initiatives, as well as to attract private investment to the sector. These projects include the agro-industrial park in Aboh OgwashiUku, Kwale Industrial Park in the north of Delta State and Norsworthy Farms in Akwukwu-Igbo.

In October 2019 Ifeanyi Okowa, the then governor of Delta State, announced a $10m counterpart fund to attract foreign investors to develop Kwale Industrial Park. In November 2022 the state government concluded arrangements with Eastern Metals to establish a nail factory in the industrial park, with the government holding a 10% stake in the business. The development of several industrial parks in Delta State is expected to encourage greater investment in processing activities, particularly those focused on the state’s natural resources and crops.


Delta State’s export sector is still largely underdeveloped, as the manufacturing and industry sectors are still nascent. However, then-governor Okowa said in January 2020 that the state’s four seaports – Warri, Burutu, Sapele and Koko – have a combined capacity that is greater than all other ports in Nigeria combined. These ports offer an opportunity to establish new import-export routes between Delta State, other parts of Africa and beyond.