Early next year, Nigeria is set to displace India as the country with the largest number of people in extreme poverty, according to the latest forecast by the World Poverty Clock.
By February 2018, Nigeria will have some 83 million people living in extreme poverty, up from the current 82 million, whereas India’s very poor population will shrink from 88.4 million to 82.3 million, according to the non-profit initiative of the Viennese-based World Data Lab.
The clock uses data from national governments, development agencies, and global financial institutions, according to its website, worldpoverty.io.
No fewer than 5.7 people sink into extreme poverty in Nigeria every minute, it added — a situation development experts blame on a population surge that is not matched by economic growth.
Nigeria currently has a population of some 193 million, growing at a rate of 2.63 percent a year, according to the latest United Nations estimates. In contrast, the World Bank forecasts a paltry 1.2 percent annual economic growth for the country, which just emerged from its worst recession in over two decades.
Eradicating extreme poverty is the number one United Nations Sustainable Development Goal. Experts warn that many countries of the world will miss the 2030 target of the goal, especially in Africa.
The UN reckons that anyone surviving on less than $1.90 a day, measured against purchasing power as of 2011, suffers from extreme poverty. The clock shows millions of people, especially in Asia, exiting the scourge.
Government must do more
Wale Olusi, an investment expert at Lagos-based United Capital Plc, said this news means that India has done a lot to improve the lot of its people, while Nigeria must do more.
“The truth is that it took a lot of reforms to get India out of its unenviable position.
The figure simply means (Nigeria) isn’t doing as much as it ought to do to lift people of out of extreme poverty,” he told Anadolu Agency.
He said India’s economy is growing over six percent annually, versus Nigeria, whose economy slipped into recession following a dip in oil prices.
“Our reforms haven’t been ambitious enough to bring necessary growth.
We must roll out very ambitious reforms targeted at helping the poor.
Also, recent developments in the oil and gas sector and politics have not helped the country,” he added. (News Express)