Nigeria: High Poverty and Inequality

Nearly four in every ten South Africans are unemployed, entrenching poverty and invariably worsening inequality and instability (file photo).
analysis

The recent National Bureau of Statistics ( NBS ) survey found that 40.1% – 82.9 million – Nigerians are living in poverty with the national poverty line estimated at ₦137,430 per year [PDF] .

As such, 4 out of 10 Nigerians spend less than ₦376 (U.S. $1) per day on both food and non-food basic needs.

A further disaggregation shows that the population in rural and urban areas living in poverty are 52.1% and 18% respectively.

On inequality, the report found that the national Gini coefficient was 35.1 while the coefficient for the rural and urban population are 32.8 and 31.9 respectively.

The level of inequality in Nigeria is comparable to that of in India (35.2) but significantly below countries like South Africa (62.5).

Based on the experiences of countries that have improved the living standard of a large proportion of their population, Nigeria will need to achieve sustained and high economic growth, substantial infrastructural development, provide large-scale structured and targeted poverty alleviation programmes alongside social development programmes.

In doing this, the government will not only provide immediate relief to the poor but will also enhance the income-generating potential of citizens and minimize the risk of falling into poverty.

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