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Poverty in Nigeria


Poverty in Nigeria

Poverty in Nigeria used to be significant despite high economic growth it first started sometime during the British empire. Nigeria has one of the world's highest economic growth rates (averaging 7.4% but according to the Nigeria economic report released in July 2014, by the world bank, poverty may have been overestimated because the country's economy is now being understood more and more. Poverty still remains significant at 33.1% in Africa's biggest economy. A country with massive wealth and a huge population to support commerce, the level of poverty remains unacceptable.[1] over the last decade), a well-developed economy, and plenty of natural resources such as oil.[2]

Poverty in Nigeria can be also caused by the political instability of the country. However, these programs have largely failed to overcome the three reasons for this persistent poverty: income inequality, ethnic conflict, and political instability.


  • Income inequality 1
  • Long-term ethnic conflict and civil unrest 2
  • Political instability and corruption 3
  • Government programmes 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6

Income inequality

Income inequality worsened from 0.43 to 0.49 between 2004 and 2009. This is correlated with differential access to infrastructure and amenities. In particular, there are more rural poor than urban poor.[3] This results from the composition of Nigeria's economy, especially the energy (oil) and agriculture sectors. Oil exports contribute significantly to government revenues and about 15% of GDP, despite employing only a fraction of the population.[4] Agriculture, however, contributes to about 45% of GDP, and employs close to 90% of the rural population.[5]

This incongruence is compounded by the fact that oil revenue is poorly distributed among the population, with higher government spending in urban areas than rurally. High unemployment rates renders personal incomes even more divergent.[6] Moreover, the process of oil extraction has resulted in significant pollution, which further harms the agricultural sector.

Long-term ethnic conflict and civil unrest

Nigeria has historically experienced much ethnic conflict.[note 1] With the return to civilian rule in 1999, militants from religious and ethnic groups have become markedly more violent.[4] While this unrest has its roots in poverty and economic competition,[6] its economic and human damages further escalate the problems of poverty (such as increasing the mortality rate). For instance, ethnic unrest and the displeasure of local communities with oil companies has contributed to the conflict over oil trade in the Niger Delta, which threatens the productivity of oil trade.[7] Civil unrest might also have contributed to the adoption of populist policy measures which work in the short-run, but impede m poverty alleviation efforts.

Political instability and corruption

Nigeria's large population and historic ethnic instability has led to the adoption of a federal government. The resultant fiscal decentralisation provides Nigeria’s state and local governments considerable autonomy, including control over 50% of government revenues, as well as responsibility for providing public services.[3]

The lack of a stringent regulatory and monitoring system has allowed for rampant corruption.[3] This has hindered past poverty alleviation efforts, and will continue to do so,[8] since resources which could pay for public goods or directed towards investment (and so create employment and other opportunities for citizens) are being misappropriated.

Government programmes

There have been attempts at poverty alleviation, most notably with the following programmes:[9]


  1. ^ Nigeria has almost 250 ethnic groups and two major religions (Islam and Christianity)


  1. ^ "Nigeria - Country Brief". 2011-09-23. Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  2. ^ "Nigeria". DFID. Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  3. ^ a b c Aigbokhan, Ben E. (2000). "Poverty, Growth and Inequality in Nigeria: A Case Study". 
  4. ^ a b "Nigeria 2009". 
  5. ^ "home". 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  6. ^ a b "Nigeria profile". BBC News. 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  7. ^ "Violence in Nigeria's Oil Rich Rivers State in 2004: Summary". Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  8. ^ Duffield, Caroline (2010-09-28). "The illegal but lucrative trade in educational materials, for instance, cripples the work of teachers". Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  9. ^ Dr Jideofor Adibe. "Poverty Alleviation in Nigeria: Which Way Nigeria? :: Holler Africa - Make Yourself Heard!". Holler Africa. Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
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