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  In a shocking revelation revealed by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), one hundred and thirty-three million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor— that is over 60% of the country’s population. The report noted that 133 million Nigerians are deprived of more than one essential survival need (good health, good living standards, basic education, and gainful employment). This revelation is not new, however, it is very shocking. Moreover, in 2017, Nigeria overtook India as the poverty capital of the world. Economists and financial experts opined that in the next 10 years, should this trajectory continue, Nigeria might descend into complete collapse and eventual state failure. It is not enough to lament about the declining chart of the nation’s economy, rather systematic and structural solutions must be taken as a matter of urgency in order to take Nigeria out of poverty. To solve the poverty problem, Nigeria must look at its peculiarities and address them. One can not deny the fact that the present insecurity in the country has aided the growth of poverty in the country. The Herders-Farmers’ crises in the Middle Belt have led to increased food security and the eventual impoverishment of millions of Nigerians. Furthermore, the unresponsive and miscalculated economic policies of the present administration have worsened the situation. Another problem is the increasing number of out-of-school children. Hence, proffering the best solution to an incapable government will only worsen the situation. Nevertheless, this article provides few recommendations on how the nation can escape the poverty trap.
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The first recommendation towards escaping the poverty trap is to increase the literacy level of the nation through custom-made policies that make education affordable and accessible. According to a 2018 and 2022 report by UNICEF, Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, with the largest coming from Northern Nigeria. Just like we have seen in China and India – two nations Nigeria can actually emulate due to their recent escape from poverty – educating the populace is the surest path out of poverty. Sadly, Nigeria allocates less than 6% of its annual budget to education as against the global standard of 16%. Studies have shown that high-quality education can provide a long-term solution to poverty in countries currently under the poverty trap. With a quality population in place, there will be an equipped workforce that can man various industries and sectors, which naturally gravitate towards prosperity. Secondly, the country must diversify its economy and move away from overdependence on oil. With the current climate change and the subsequent withdrawal from fossil fuels by many economies which has led to the devaluation of crude, it is now very paramount for Nigeria to rethink its means of revenue generation. Nigeria, a nation blessed with vast agricultural lands must engage in innovative farming backed by incentivisation policies such as the provision of soft loans and subsidization of agro fertilizers and other equipment. Apart from agriculture, the country’s mining sector must be revamped through public-private investments. By focusing on agriculture and mining, more jobs will be created for the teeming youths of the country. However, these industries must adopt best global practices in order to attract the younger population. Furthermore, to kickstart these vital industries, they must act as feeder industries to various manufacturing industries. For instance, in the area of agriculture, farm produce must be channelled towards recipient factories that can create jobs and as well diversify the food consumption of the nation. In all, the nation must move from consumption to production.
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Thirdly, to attend to a revamping of docile industries, technological innovations and infrastructure must be put in place. The Road and Belt initiative of China must be adopted as well as the UN’s SDG Goals in the area of instituting the necessary infrastructures such as roads and bridges, energy, healthcare system, and so on. For instance, creating links between farms, factories and markets can easily facilitate economic progress and prosperity. Moreover, by fixing the problem of power, industries are powered to increase their outputs for both local consumption and export. In the area of the healthcare system, it takes a healthy population to be productive. Hence, investing in building healthcare facilities as well as the production and manufacturing of drugs can revitalize the population that will man the economy. Fourthly, creating strong institutions such as the security, legal and civil society, which is far above elected officials can curb the problem of corruption and financial misappropriation which has remained the bane of the economy. When solid institutions which are backed by a legal framework are in place, there will be a responsive and responsible government and government agencies. Finally, in learning how China escaped the poverty trap, studies revealed two broad lessons on development that Nigeria must learn. First, transformative change requires an adaptive governing system that empowers ground-level actors to create new solutions for evolving problems. Second, the first step out of the poverty trap is to “use what you have”—harnessing existing resources to kick-start new markets, even if that means defying first-world norms. Featured Image Source: iStock
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This article was first published on 3rd December 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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