Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Debate Tuesday - Can there ever be an end to poverty in Nigeria?

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With just five years remaining until the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today sounded the alarm that the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) continued to be mired in poverty.
Although school enrolment has improved and strides have been made in reducing child mortality and expanding access to clean water in the LDCs, they remain the group facing the most severe challenging in realizing the eight MDGs, Mr. Ban underlined today.

Scores of world leaders are gathering in New York for a three-day General Assembly gathering, which started yesterday, to assess progress made so far in reaching the Goals.

“The LDCs represent the poorest and most vulnerable segment of humanity,” the Secretary-General said at a side event this morning focusing on the MDGs in these countries.

“They remain at the epicentre of the developmental emergency,” he added.

Countries are classified as LDCs if they meet three criteria: a low income; human capital status based on education, nutrition, health and literacy indicators; and economic vulnerability.

Currently, more than half of the 800 million in the 49 LDCs live below the poverty line, while only six of them have poverty rates under 30 per cent.

The LDCs are also made less competitive by their inadequate transport infrastructure and uneven power supplies.

The above is news from the UN website.

It cannot be more obvious from the descriptions given that Nigeria is among the LDCs.

What concerns me today as the UN leaders continue their review is the progress in Nigeria towards eradicating poverty and hunger. The other day I read that a governor employed some graduates as assistants so they could be paid an allowance. I think such unstructured gimmicks are unsustainable.

This is from the UNDP in Nigeria: MDGs in Nigeria: Current Progress

Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
People living in relative poverty declined from 65.6 in 1996 to 54.4% in 204 while 35 out of 100 people live in extreme poverty and 30 out of 100 children are under-weight. Poverty incidence has been consistently higher in rural areas than urban areas while wide disparity occurs in poverty trend in the zones. The prospect of reducing poverty in Nigeria is bright in view of the macroeconomics stability and progressive economic growth in the last six years. Government polices at the third tiers should be focused on increased productivity in the agricultural sector. Investment in infrastructure, especially in rural areas, should be scaled up. This should be complemented with accountability and transparent governance.

Sounds all good written like that. Do you think it can be done?


  1. If everything works right, then yes, but the chances are low. The goals should start small and get larger once achieving a small.


  2. I dont think it can ever come to an end. WE are brought up in a way that makes us strive for survival of the fittest by hook or by crook. everyone who gets into an important position tries to loot as much money as they can. the hardship we are brought up with teaches us to live that way

  3. Myne, I am very interested in this topic because it relates to my PhD research. While statistics seem to reveal a decline in poverty, you will notice that 'on ground', the statistics appear to be very false.

    I have read hundreds of journal articles before coming to collect data here in Nigeria and most of the things I read about, I discovered are mostly all exaggerations. Poverty cannot be eradicated, it can only be reduced. The hopes of that is what we should have...and none other.

    My take...

    - LDP

  4. Wow!those are high numbers.I dont think poverty can be eradicated in my life time.Sad!

  5. Thanks for this Myne.

    It's possible. If and only if our so-called government leaders do their jobs, corruption is reduced to the barest minimum, and citizens perform their civic responsibilities.

    Also, if the proper structures are put in place, the level of poverty in Nigeria can be drastically reduced by 2015. Cliche as it may sound, the average Nigerian is very driven to succeed and excel. However, if the basic structures for success are lacking (water, good roads, good loan programs, good drainage systems, affordable housing, light, security etc) are non-existent, what does the government expect? Prosperity? We also know that accountability and good governance is sorely lacking in Nigeria which is why inept leaders think they can behave as they please.

    But like Chizzy D said, first, the government must start small...

  6. I agree with jobsfornaija; i was born here in naija, i grew up here, went to school here, and now i'm working here. I tell u, its no summer evening joke. Until our kids can grow up in a society where they don't have cry and struggle for BASIC rights and resources, things aren't gonna change much.

    Check out, most nigerians who're really fighting to make these MDG's a reality here in Nigeria (i.e besides the gov't sycophants) are people who grew up abroad. They've lived in societies where these MDGs are commonplace, and they can't understand why it isn't so back home. I wish i could do something myself, i really do, but i'm too busy surviving (surviving!!), and trying help my kid brothers finish school so they can have a chance like i did.

  7. Most Nigerians are barely surviving in such a harsh climate. That's why the targets may not be met. In a country such as Nigeria - rich in natural resources and manpower - it is really depressing that many people live below the poverty line.

    Everything one reads about Nigeria is depressing. What have we achieved in 50 years? One of NEXT's top stories today: Nigeria is the country with the highest number of children out of school.

    Add that to cholera, poor health, and safety, lack of law and order, poor universities, lack of international investment...so far, it is not good news.

  8. Poverty can be reduced, definitely not eradicated. Accountability and transparent governance are words that do not exist in the Nigerian dictionary. There is productivity in the agricultural sector, sad thing is there is little or no means of preservation. A lot of the food perishes unnecessarily during transit and on the market stalls. It's not just the government at fault, the mentality of the governed is also skewed. It's a dog eat dog world out there.

  9. poverty is inevitable.can it be reduced?yes.eradicated?no.even america,china and european countries still have a remarkable number of poor people.
    believe it or not, you can never eradicate poverty cos seriously, we kinda need poor people in the society.it can never be a balance society without the upperclass, middleclass and lower class.
    poverty can never be eradicated, reduced?yes.

  10. I think the eradication of poverty would involve a foundational shift I don't think most countries are willing to make.

  11. I really wish I could beat my chest and give a resounding YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

    From the realities on ground, Nigerians and leadership have not gone aninch closer to achieving all those MDGs.
    but then, I am hopeful , I am an helpless believer in 'faith'.

    So it would be a better Nigeria someday

  12. Well,I go with leggy,poverty cannot be eradicated,we need the poor,even Jesus in the Bible said,THE POOR YOU'LL ALWAYS HAVE WITH YOU.

  13. @Myne

    Interesting debates and am loving the responses. Wow! I wish poverty can be totally erradicated but not with the stingy leaders not doing anything, they complain, meet together yet are the same people eating the money. Only the grace of God for Nigerians to remove poverty.

  14. @Myne

    Interesting debates and am loving the responses. Wow! I wish poverty can be totally erradicated but not with the stingy leaders not doing anything, they complain, meet together yet are the same people eating the money. Only the grace of God for Nigerians to remove poverty.

  15. @YNC, you're so right. I'll be watching the coming elections closely. Maybe something will come out of it that will move the country forward.

  16. End to poverty?....i dunno...the situation is getting worst everyday.... myne.*sigh!*

  17. @Nitty Gritty, that is my fear exactly. Welcome back.

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