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A DIM OUTLOOK

Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world

Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye
A woman sits outside a shed as she waits for food rations at an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp on the outskirts of Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria June 6, 2017.
  • Yomi Kazeem
By Yomi Kazeem

Africa reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to end extreme poverty by 2030 is unlikely to be metno thanks, in large part, to Nigeria.

A new report by The World Poverty Clock shows Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the most extreme poor people in the world. India has a population seven times larger than Nigeria’s. The struggle to lift more citizens out of extreme poverty is an indictment on successive Nigerian governments which have mismanaged the country’s vast oil riches through incompetence and corruption.

The 86.9 million Nigerians now living in extreme poverty represents nearly 50% of its estimated 180 million population. As Nigeria faces a major population boomit will become the world’s third largest country by 2050it’s a problem will likely worsen. But having large swathes of people still living in extreme poverty is an Africa-wide problem.

Crucially, of those countries in top ten, only Ethiopia is on track to meet the United Nations’ SDG of ending extreme poverty by 2030. Outside the top ten, only Ghana and Mauritania are also on track with the SDG target. Indeed, of the 15 countries across the world where extreme poverty is rising per World Poverty Clock data, 13 are currently in Africa.

As a consequence, the mission to end extreme poverty globally is already at risk. By July 2018, 83 million people would have been lifted out of extreme poverty since January 2016but the number is 37 million people fewer than the required to meet the 2030 target.

CountryPercentage of population in extreme povertySDG1 status
Nigeria46.7Poverty rising
Democratic Republic of Congo77Poverty rising
Ethiopia23.4On track
Tanzania35Off track
Mozambique61.8Off track
Kenya30Off track
Uganda34.2Off track
South Africa24.6Off track
South Sudan93Poverty rising
Zambia57.2Poverty rising

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