Theresa May, Prime minister of the United Kingdom may have set the tone of her talks with President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of her visit today. In a speech given in South Africa, she highlighted the high level of poverty, in Africa and Nigeria specifically.
“Most of the world’s poorest people are Africans. And increasing wealth has brought rising inequality, both between and within nations. For example, much of Nigeria is thriving, with many individuals enjoying the fruits of a resurgent economy. Yet 87 million Nigerians live on less than $1.90 a day – making it home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world.”
VIDEO: 87 million Nigerians live on less than $1.90 a day – Theresa May pic.twitter.com/3pZm6eQ5mm
— Nairametrics (@Nairametrics) August 29, 2018
The core issues
While many may latch on the figures, at the core are two issues: GDP growth is far lower than the population growth rate, amidst high unemployment. Figures released this week by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.50% in the second quarter of 2018. Full-year growth has been forecast by some analysts to be in the range of 2%. The population, however, has an annual growth rate of around 3%.
Unemployment is also high
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows the unemployment rate for the third quarter of 2017 was 18.8%. This compares to 16.2% and 14.4% in Q2 and Q1 respectively. Nigeria’s unemployment rate was 7.5% when the Buhari Administration took over at the end of Q1 2015. The rise could be tied to the recession which the economy fell into barely a few months after the administration’s resumption, which was driven by a fall in crude oil prices and production volumes due to militancy in the oil rich Niger Delta.
In essence, the country’s population is growing faster than the economy, amidst rising unemployment.