Solution to Poverty in Nigeria (9 Potent Strategies)
With the current deplorable situation in almost every sector in the country, what truly is the solution to Poverty in Nigeria?
Nigeria is currently the world poverty capital. Quite disappointing but that's the reality. A report from the World Bank projects that, by 2022, about 90 million Nigerians will live in poverty. In fact, Covid-19 gave an upsurge to this projected figure - the Coronavirus pandemic predisposed at least 95.1 million people in Nigeria to poverty.
One would think the country's population is expected to be a reputable source of human capital. However, the teeming population keeps overshooting the available resources. And as expected, many people are at the receiving end of this menace.
What exactly is poverty?
Poverty is lack of access to the basic necessities of life. That is, poverty means the inability to afford quality food, education, conducive housing and other important needs.
The yardstick for defining someone or a set of people living in extreme poverty has been a matter of contention over the years among countries and experts. Yet, the most popular indicator has been the World Bank's monetary approach. According to World Bank, anyone living below $1.90 daily experiences poverty.
And come to think of it, anyone who can't afford up to $2 on a daily basis would definitely find it difficult to feed well, buy good clothing and afford a conducive shelter.
So what's the remedy to this unfortunate condition traversing the length and breadth of the country? That's why we need to succinctly consider the solution to poverty in Nigeria.
Solution to Poverty in Nigeria
It's not one. Rather, it's preferable to say "solutions" to poverty in the African most populous country.
If poverty will reduce to the minimum in Nigeria, the well meaning stakeholders and the government must strictly consider the following solutions:
1. Rise in Literacy Rate and Skill Development
The high level of illiteracy in Nigeria is appalling. Some people never enrolled in a school while many dropped out either because of financial incapacitation, lack of interest or venturing into different means of making money.
While this is a popular situation across different states in Nigeria, the rate of illiteracy in the northern part of Nigeria is more pronounced.
Also, UNICEF reported that Nigeria has one out of every five out-of-school children in the world. Firstly, this is an indication of poverty and invariably, this translates to inability of young people to identify economic enhancing opportunities and utilizing them especially in this tech-driven world.
In addition, many female children whose parents don't understand the potential of a good education have been subjected to early Marriage. This in turn facilitates an unprecedented rate of reproduction which keeps the population size constantly exploding.
Therefore, education is a must in Nigeria's poverty eradication effort. Young people (and their parents) should be encouraged to value education. With this, they will explore different information and inculcate the right values.
2. Access to Quality Healthcare Services
To say the least, the healthcare system in Nigeria is in a deplorable state. While there are notable hospitals like UCH, LUTH and Federal Medical Centres, the access of many, especially those in the interiors, is still very limited.
Unfortunately, this weakness has really promoted a high rate of maternal and infant mortality. In fact, a great healthcare service could have easily prevented the loss of lives of many people - men, women and children but the reverse is the case.
Generally, the government still has a lot to do. It's one of their major and primary responsibilities to the people they serve. A healthy population is a productive population.
Apart from that, NGOs and individuals can also assist the government by setting up health centres especially in remote locations.
3. Economic Diversification
Another potent driver of poverty in Nigeria is over reliance on the oil and gas sector.
Nigeria could have been far ahead in this 21st century if the authorities complement oil production activities with another vibrant economic activity such as agriculture.
Now, the income stream of the economy is majorly from one source. And this has hampered the financing of important projects in the country.
If the government pays some more attention to agriculture for example, it's an avenue to create more employment opportunities for the growing population of the country, therefore pulling many out of poverty.
4. Embracement of Technology
Nigeria is still far behind in terms of technological advancement. Well, there's been improvement in recent times but compared to some other countries especially USA, China, Germany, France, UK, Canada, Japan and many others, it's glaring that there's a lot to be done.
In context, automation is taking over. This helps in achieving a faster and more accurate execution of activities in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. In addition, there's assurance of large scale production of goods.
For example, in manufacturing, robots are now taking over labour-intensive settings. These machines technically take charge of the production line with minimal human direct involvement.
Now, it's easy to think they are taking charge and reducing humans to becoming unemployed.
Whether we like it or not, modern technology is here to stay. All we need to learn is how to harness their potential to improve our lives.
When Nigerians have the opportunity to acquire globally recognized IT skills, apparently, the rate of poverty will decline.
One of the most reputable platforms to learn an IT skill is Ivav Tech. They have numerous courses including software development, web development, digital marketing, scrum master certification, project management and many more.
5. Stand Against Corruption
This is a major solution to poverty in Nigeria.
It is not the responsibility of one or two but a collective responsibility of many. Poverty in Nigeria is largely owed to the unwarranted character public office holders display.
If not diversion of public funds, it will be nepotism or misplaced priorities - such as paying more attention to irrelevant projects.
A solid fight against corruption will engender a direct impact on poverty alleviation. When resources are directed to where they belong, people will definitely feel the impact and their lives will drastically improve.
6. Increased Business Owners' Access to Credit Facilities and Trainings
Business means solving problems. It centres on identifying the pressing needs of people and creating products or providing services that address such needs.
However, one of the factors limiting the performance of business owners in Nigeria is capital - starting capital or working capital. Many entrepreneurs could have done more if they had the finance to hire more hands and purchase machines.
Although, many venture capitalists/ angel investors are currently making moves to help business owners but they seem not to be enough. The number of entrepreneurs rising from different fields these days seems unprecedented.
In addition, some business owners need training to forge ahead. They have the idea of what to do but how to do it and become profitable is what they continue to struggle with.
So, government and concerned individuals and organizations in Nigeria (and outside) can channel their resources to supporting the growth of businesses in Nigeria. And from there, more people would have a better means of livelihood and poverty would become a menace of the past.
7. Improvement in Girls' Education and Women Empowerment
In many cultures around the country, women have generally not had the leeway to express their potential. Traditions have relegated many to just taking care of children and house chores. But this isn't meant to be. Women can also contribute immensely to the finances of the family, therefore reducing generational transfer of poverty.
8. Infrastructure Development
Another potent solution to poverty in Nigeria is availability of social amenities.
Good transportation systems, stable electricity, affordable housing, quality water supply and other amenities are the basic things people need to get their lives going.
The responsibility is on the government but individuals and NGOs can step in to assist in easing the burden on the lives of people.
9. Equitable Distribution of Wealth
This particular solution to poverty in Nigeria is quite synonymous to some points we already raised. However, it is still important to emphasize that there's a wide gap between the rich and the poor in Nigeria and bridging it is a necessity.
So, priority should be placed on people and areas with limited resources. The income of low earners should be improved while there should be a review on the earnings of political office holders. It is important public office holders earn but their offices should not be instruments for amassing illegal wealth.
In addition, if the minimum wage is observed in different establishments, the lives of many people will take a new turn.
In this post, we've examined an amazing topic - solution to poverty in Nigeria. Nigeria has great opportunities yet untapped. If those concerned at various levels give expression to these solutions provided, Nigeria will have a new story.
FAO is passionate about poverty reduction especially amongst single mothers, molested girls and children. We want to make sure as many of them that we can reach have access to opportunities that will unleash their potential. One of the ways we do this is by exposing them to tech skills and ensuring they are proficient in any area of choice so that they can live the life of their dreams.