2 December 2018

Nigeria: Yola and the Ogas - the Epitome of Nigeria's Enormous Challenges and Promise


Yola, far in Nigeria's north-east, straddles the banks of the giant Benue River, a sandy brown expanse curling its way seductively along the Mandara mountains. A stone's throw from the border with Cameroon, Yola is a town of tuk-tuks, the yellow vehicles crawling all over its wide roads.

More sweltering Sahel than sweaty West Africa, the population is a sea of flowing robes, loud turbans, and flat-topped Filas, the ubiquitous soft fez. The only visible suits, save for foreigners, are for those "on government service".

Yola has doubled in population in 25 years to more than 500,000, evidence of a great challenge that lies before Nigeria. Already Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria is poised to more than double its population to 400-million in the next 30 years.

The scale of the ensuing challenge is daunting. Today Nigeria has two million additional school leavers each year. This number will quadruple by 2050, placing additional pressure on an already underperforming job market. Already stressed infrastructure will likely collapse without forward planning and urgent action as Nigeria's urban population swells to 290-million during this period.

The number of annual job seekers in nigeria is projected...


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