The Poverty Capital of the World:  NIGERIA

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SEATTLE, Washington — Nigeria, a third world country in Africa, is known as the poverty capital of the world. The nation just exceeded India with the largest rate of people living in extreme poverty. In Nigeria, about 86.9 million people live in severe poverty, which is about 50% of its entire population. While the nation is smaller both geographically and in terms of population, it is failing at lowering the rates of poverty. This is partly due to the mismanagement of the oil business and the presence of corruption. Along with this, the nation is going through a “population boom,” which will make managing poverty rates more difficult. One of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals is to end extreme poverty by 2050. However, Nigeria’s poverty rates are currently going in the wrong direction.

Top Reasons for Poverty in Nigeria

While Nigeria is known for its oil riches, the reality of the nation is that corruption, unemployment and inequalities have destroyed the nation’s economic framework, causing it to be the poverty capital of the world.
  1. Corruption: Corruption is the major reason why poverty is at such a high rate in Nigeria. In fact, many economist have declared that it is the “single greatest obstacle” that prevents Nigeria from prospering. Corruption is present in the everyday lives of citizens from businesses to the government. Consequently, poorer communities are suffering and the economic structure has experienced disruption.
  2. Unemployment: The high rates of unemployment also lead to extreme poverty. Unemployment typically exists among the younger population. In fact, only about 44.6% of young people have employment, leaving more than half of the population is unemployed. A major cause of unemployment is the fact that people tend to focus more on oil production rather than a variety of other industries. Not only does the country suffer from a lack of employment but it also suffers from a lack of development, progress and diversification of its industries.
  3. Inequality: Along with corruption and unemployment, another major driver of poverty in Nigeria is the presence of inequality within the nation. Nigerian women are subject to unequal treatment in terms of labor, education and property. While about 79% of women make up the rural labor force, they are the least likely to own their own property. Along with this, only about 6% of Nigerian women have achieved literacy, the rest are still illiterate. Inequalities in Nigeria are a result of poorly allocated resources and corruption. While Nigeria has plenty of resources, these resources are typically reserved for the wealthy who can afford them. Along with this, corruption within the government leads to further inequalities between the political elite and to those living in poverty.

Addressing Poverty

While the Nigerian government has launched a variety of programs to help those in poverty, its attempts have clearly not been strong enough. Due to the high presence of corruption, unemployment and inequalities, the nation’s programs are failing to adequately lower the rates of poverty. Being the poverty capital of the world is not only impacting the country of Nigeria but it is also impacting the whole world. Nigeria is not living up to the U.N.’s goals of freeing the world from poverty by the year 2050.
Nigeria needs to invest more in girls’ education, which will contribute to the nation’s economy and help development efforts. There are several organizations working in Nigeria to help improve girls’ education. The Malala Fund has been working to increase government support of girls’ education. At the 2019 G7 summit, Malala Yousafzai and Frances Uchenna Igwilo, local education activist, spoke on behalf of girls’ education. They urged governments to double the amount of money used to invest in education for women. Igwilo works hard as one of the Malala Fund Education Champions for the importance of girls’ education to communities in Nigeria. She also created a club for girls “to share their experiences, develop leadership skills and learn how to advocate for safe, quality education.”
Organizations like Microsoft and the African Development Bank are working to provide technical training to Nigeria’s youth during COVID-19. The hope is to create a new generation of digitally skilled workers to rebuild the economy. Microsoft hopes to give digital skills to at least 25 million people around the world. These programs include digital marketing, graphic design and coding.

Looking Ahead

By reducing corruption and improving employment and educational opportunities, Nigeria can help its citizens get out of poverty. These steps will not only reduce the poverty rates but they will also help the nation prosper in other levels as well. Hopefully, Nigeria will lose its status as the poverty capital of the world.

Krishna Panchal
Photo: Flickr

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