Nigerians are traveling beyond the shores of the country to become citizens in other countries, with Canada being a preferred destination, causing significant human and intellectual flight for the African giant.
In a recent article by Nairametrics, data showed that over 18,000 Nigerians received permanent residency in 3 years (2018 – 2020), with much more expected in the just concluded year as Canada received a record high of 401,396 immigrants in 2021.
Although, migration is part of life, which is not only peculiar to humans but to other living things such as plants that move towards sunlight which scientists refer to as Phototropism. But migration by Nigerians feels plant-like as the darkness of the Nigerian environment has made almost every Nigerian you speak to have an “exit plan” to another country in the works.
Last year, the World Bank said 50% of Nigerians are willing to move abroad to realize their hopes for a better life even if it’s through irregular routes. Historically, Nigerians usually travel for educational purposes but now they travel abroad because they believe they will find better opportunities to compensate for their labour.
With inflation at double digits, a national currency on auto-devaluation and insecurity, representing some of the major socio-economic challenges that inspire Nigerians to move abroad, especially Canada. It is imperative to consider some of the economic factors motivating Nigerians for cross-border movement.
Countries around the world are suffering from record-high inflation rates largely attributed to surging global crude oil prices, increase in demand for consumer goods, supply chain disruption, and a host of stimulus packages by central banks in various countries.
In the same vein, Nigeria’s consumer price index rose by 15.4% in November 2021, representing a 12-month low, dropping from 15.99% recorded in the previous month. Meanwhile, Statistics Canada reported that Canada’s inflation rate surged to an 18-year high of 4.7% in November 2021.
Comparing the Canadian figures to that of Nigeria, it is 10.7% points lower, indicating a significantly varying level of price volatility between the two countries. For more context, the United States of America also recorded a significant spike to 7% in December 2021, owing to the surge in the prices of goods and services in the country. This is the highest inflation rate in almost 40 years for the world giant and is still small compared to the Nigerian numbers of 15.4%.
A cursory look at the 10-year trend analysis shows that Nigeria’s inflation rate has averaged at 11.75% between 2011 and 2020, compared to Canada’s average of 1.64%, and 1.73% for the United States. This is an indication of the level of inflationary pressure in Nigeria compared to Canada and other developed economies.
Need for immigrants
Canada is blessed with huge landmass of almost 10 times that of Nigeria’s and a very small population to occupy the space. Notably, Canada’s landmass is estimated at 9.98 million km square, compared to Nigeria’s 923,768km square. Also, its population is estimated at 38.01 million according to the World Bank, while Nigeria’s population at 206.1 million, represents more than 5 times that of Canada.
Due to the abundance of the land and a significantly small population, Canada is open to accepting migrants into the country in order to help spur economic growth. As a result, it has welcomed migrants from all over the world and is open to welcoming 411,000 and 421,000 immigrants in 2022 and 2023 respectively.
According to Canada’s immigration levels plan, Canada seeks to welcome over 1.2 million new immigrants in 3 years, cutting across various immigration classes. Specifically, the invitations will consider migrants in the economic class, family, refugee, and humanitarian.
Also, Canada’s unemployment rate trickled down to 5.9% in December 2021 compared to 6% recorded in the previous month as Canada increased jobs by 55,000 in December. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s unemployment is still pegged at 33.3% as December 2020.
The Canadian government recently announced that it will be employing students to take up some jobs, especially remote work. According to the government, it is looking to employ students who are ready to make a few extra bucks by working remotely. He also highlighted “We have a wide variety of jobs from coast to coast, in diverse fields, such as administration, agriculture, communications, enforcement, finance, IT, policy, and many more,”
Economy at below desirable level
Nigeria boasts of being the largest economy on the African continent, with GDP estimated at $432.29 billion in 2020, followed by South Africa and Egypt. However, with a population of over 206 million, Nigeria’s GDP per capita is estimated at $2,097, ranking seventeenth in Africa.
Despite the large population of Nigeria, it was unable to print impressive growth in its GDP. Compared to Canada, its GDP was estimated at $1.64 trillion, almost times four of Nigerian’s GDP. Despite the economic problem, ravaging Nigeria, banditry, insurgency amongst others, some Nigerians still obtain expensive FX to pay for foreign education.
According to an article by Nairametrics, Nigerians spent a hefty sum of $28 billion in 10 years patronizing foreign schools, a development caused as a result of the infrastructural problem in the Nigerian educational sector, recurrent strike actions, and many other prevailing issues in the Nigerian academic sector.
What they are saying
Miss Adejoke, a practising nurse and student in Canada, revealed her reasons for leaving Nigeria and seeking residency in Canada. According to her, the Nigerian education system is below average and is not designed to meet international standards.
“In Nigeria, it is not easy to be a student and work at the same and be able to pay your bills, in Canada you are able to do all these even as a high school graduate,” she said. Adejoke also mentioned that the United States and Canada are seen as lands of opportunities and rightly so, highlighting that all her expectations for leaving Nigeria have been met in less than 5 years.
In a conversation with, Thomas Abiodun a financial expert living in Canada, he explained that his major reason for leaving Nigeria was in search of higher earnings compared to the paltry income received in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, he added that Nigeria’s system is backdated and now since he travelled to Canada, he has gained access to one of the best infrastructure, transport system, uninterrupted power supply, unhindered a, which is why Nigerian academic progress, stability