LOS ANGELES, California — Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, remains entangled in the grip of widespread poverty. According to the World Bank, approximately 40% of Nigerians live below the national poverty line, mainly due to a shortage of basic infrastructure.
To combat this predicament, the Nigerian government has continuously implemented initiatives aimed at benefitting underprivileged citizens across its land. To this end, the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) proposed the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) in 2021 which has already benefited more than 2 million locals one year later.
Rural Roads Programme
As a part of the NPRGS in Nigeria, the government inked an agreement with both the World Bank and the French Development Agency, pledging a total of $575 million for the development of rural roads in 13 states. The program will run from 2021 to 2026 with a goal of covering 53,730 kilometers in distance. By building more rural roads, the Nigerian government hopes to bring prosperity to farmers in the country while setting an emphasis on women and the younger generation.
The project has generated more than 8,000 employment opportunities along with a promising result of “40 rural roads in 120 communities,” up to April 2023.
Moving forward, the program sets a goal of generating 4.5 million employment opportunities, including both direct and indirect roles. This initiative is dedicated to connecting 750 rural markets and enhancing the lives of those in rural areas.
The educational curriculum in Nigeria has traditionally emphasized clerical abilities and lacks a broad and varied scope. The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Programme was initiated to address this shortfall. Its objective is to bridge the workforce’s skill deficiencies, thereby cultivating a more proficient, diversely educated workforce that will propel the country’s economic growth and expansion.
TVET in Nigeria operates by a layered approach with many ways to ensure students are learning professional skills that they can directly apply to work environments. According to the United Nations, the Nigerian National Board for Technical Education classifies a total of 10 National Occupation Standards:
- Garment making
- Furniture making
- Office technology
- Computer hardware maintenance
- Satellite installation and maintenance
- GSM repairs and maintenance
- Air conditioning and refrigeration
- Leather works
- Motor/tricycle assembly and maintenance
- Rice milling
According to The Guardian Nigeria, six states have adopted the TVET curriculum which has trained over 13,000 youths since its implementation. The program is still seeking to expand, potentially benefiting thousands more with education prioritizing entrepreneurship and TVET. Both are critical components of utilizing competitive advantage in an economic setting.
Industrializing the Economy
The NPRGS has put forth a plan for industrialization to counter soaring inflation rates and stimulate job creation in Nigeria. This strategic blueprint will unfold over four distinct phases that aim to improve market productivity. It also seeks to establish effective policies that tackle the barriers impeding economic growth and employment-intensive sectors, paving the way for a more robust and resilient Nigerian economy.
A progress report presented during a meeting chaired by Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo states that approximately 2 million underprivileged Nigerians have benefited from implemented programs. Notably, the Agriculture for Jobs Plan has positively affected 1.6 million farmers.
The NPRGS in Nigeria has already seen massive success in many programs it has implemented, and its future is looking even brighter. For 2023, the NPRGS steering committee has approved 250 billion Nigerian Nairas for the strategy’s future executions.
Other projects that have been announced for the near future include installing solar street lights, providing homes for low-income workers, directly subsidizing smallholder farmers and expanding the National Social Register.
Undoubtedly, the NPRGS in Nigeria is making significant strides to alleviate poverty, reflected in the successful implementation of numerous programs. These initiatives not only tackle immediate poverty-related challenges but also invest in the country’s long-term social and economic development, making Nigeria’s future more promising.
– James Bao