Nigeria, like every other African country, struggles with high poverty levels. External and internal forces have for long caused strife. Nigeria being one of the largest countries in Africa in population faces many challenges.
In sub-Saharan Africa, 220 million people live in abject poverty. In Nigeria, 86.9million people live in severe poverty. That accounts for nearly 50% of the total population. It is unacceptable that a country with resources can have many people living in extreme poverty.
- Mismanagement of resources
- corruption and embezzlement of public funds
- Nigeria and the rest of Africa face severe challenges that hinder their growth and development.
- Lack of education, health care and unemployment worsens the poverty levels in the country
- Little government intervention
Here are reasons why Nigeria will soon be the poverty capital in the world.
Nigeria is one of the countries languishing in high levels of corruption. Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the most corrupt places in the world.
Many people put their needs first before their country. Once leaders are in power, they use it to their benefit and relatives.
SSA loses about $150billion to corruption in lost revenue. That money can support multiple development projects and support growth.
While some countries like Ghana, Tanzania, and Rwanda have made powerful strides against corruption, many other nations continue to lag.
The state and its workers have been slackers in their job. Their constant inaction and lack of drive have seen them make bad decisions for their citizenry. The needs of the people never feature as they push their agendas.
Consequently, most public offices have incompetent workers who do not deliver. That leaves some communities vulnerable as they lack healthcare, education, and shelter.
Nigeria and other African countries struggle with healthcare. Illnesses like HIV/AIDS continue to take away many lives leaving behind orphans.
As Covid-19 struck, many countries struggled to serve their citizens and keep them safe from the pandemic. The health system favors the rich.
Consequently, public health available for the poor is in deplorable conditions. With understaffed hospitals and zero equipment and technology, early intervention of diseases like cancer is impossible.
The inequality gap in Africa is large. Most poor people cannot afford the basics, while there are rich people who have millions to their name. Lack of education and quality healthcare worsen the gap.
Women take a big hit as 79% of Nigerian women are in the rural workforce. They have low literacy levels. The gap further widens as women get poor pay and worse working conditions.
The rate of literacy in women is half that of men. In 2018 statistics, while literacy levels in men stood at 60%, in women, it was 35% showing an immense disparity.
The disparity has been the reason for Boko Haram to thrive. It is a criminal organization responsible for many crimes and the displacement of citizens.
Nigeria has one of the highest levels of unemployment. The unemployment rate in the country in 2020 was 33.28%. Most focus is on the oil industry, which leaves no room for other industries to thrive. That makes employment a major hurdle due to the lack of other industries. It also deters development. The little diversification hurts the economy and increases the rates of crime.
Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan countries face low literacy levels. A fifth of children between the ages of 6 and 11 are out of school. It gets worse at the age of 12 to 14 when a third of children are out of school. Consequently, youth between 15 and 17 are out of school.
Women’s education is a constant strain. Families tend to educate male children while marrying off their young girls. Child marriages have seen women stay out of the classroom for years.
Organizations like UNICEF, UIS, and UNESCO have been working endlessly to change the norm. How Nigeria can address poverty
How Nigeria can beat poverty
Nigeria can get to the root of poverty by shifting focus on tackling the problems above. Yet, nothing is being done to help the situation.
The weak efforts keep failing while poverty, unemployment, and crime reign. Nigeria is not meeting the UN standard development goals of freeing the world from poverty by 2050.
Free and accessible healthcare and education can help the country grow. Also, diversification of industries can ease the poverty burden in the state.
Educating more women and compensating them can create a fairground for most families to thrive. Bringing young girls to the classroom instead of turning them into wives can help enhance fairness.
Digital skills and the rise of the internet have been helping youth to find remote work. Companies like Microsoft have free courses to help the youth acquire the skills to work online and earn a living. That reduces the pressure on unemployment.
Eradicating poverty is a constant choice that requires dedication and action. The government and leadership can start working on eradicating corruption.
Better governance and dedication to building free and accessible services for the poor can help many people beat poverty. Nigeria can lose the tag of ‘the poverty capital of the world’ with more effort.