Nigeria is the world’s poverty capital, despite its oil reserves
By Obinna Chima
Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the largest number of extreme poor as of 2018, a report by the Washington-based Brookings Institution has stated.
The report titled, ‘The Start of a New Poverty Narrative,’ obtained on the institution’s website, pointed out that the Democratic Republic of the Congo could soon take over the number two spot.
It said, “At the end of May 2018, our trajectories suggest that Nigeria had about 87 million people in extreme poverty, compared with India’s 73 million. What is more, extreme poverty in Nigeria is growing by six people every minute, while poverty in India continues to fall.
“In fact, by the end of 2018 in Africa as a whole, there will probably be about 3.2 million more people living in extreme poverty than there are today. Already, Africans account for about two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor.
“If current trends persist, they will account for nine-tenths by 2030. Fourteen out of 18 countries in the world—where the number of extreme poor is rising—are in Africa.”
It noted that between January 1, 2016, when implementation of internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) started, and July 2018, the world had seen about 83 million people escape extreme poverty.
However, it noted that if extreme poverty were to fall to zero by 2030, “We should have already reduced the number by about 120 million, just assuming a linear trajectory.”
According to the Brookings Institution, given a starting point of about 725 million people in extreme poverty at the beginning of 2016, there was need to reduce poverty by 1.5 people every second to achieve the SDGs, “and yet we’ve been moving at a pace of only 1.1 people per second.”
“Given that we’ve fallen behind so much, the new target rate has just increased to 1.6 people per second through 2030. At the same time, because so many countries are falling behind, the actual pace of poverty reduction is starting to slow down. Our projections show that by 2020, the pace could fall to 0.9 people per second, and to 0.5 people per second by 2022.
“As we fall further behind the target pace, the task of ending extreme poverty by 2030 is becoming inexorably harder because we are running out of time. We should celebrate our achievements, but increasingly sound the alarm that not enough is being done, especially in Africa,” it added.
It is estimated that there are about 37 billion barrels of proven oil reserves in Nigeria, ranking the country as the largest oil producer in Africa and the 11th largest in the world, averaging over 2 million barrels per day. At current rates this would be about 40 years of supply if no new oil was found. Pipeline vandalism, kidnappings, and militant takeover of oil facilities have reduced production, which could be increased to 3 million barrels per day in the absence of such problems.
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