Inequality, poverty among Nigeria women and youth and the challenges of inclusive growth in post-2015 Millenium Development Goals

Inequality, poverty among Nigeria women and youth and the challenges of inclusive growth in post-2015 Millenium Development Goals

Economic growth is the primary driver of poverty reduction. Yet in Nigeria, despite a decade of significant growth and bountiful natural resources, 67% of the population were estimated to live in abject poverty in 2011, while wealth inequality grew. This stands in contrast to the significant levels of poverty alleviation in China and India, which have seen more success toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). To try and identify the source of this discrepancy, this journal article examines the challenges of inequality and poverty reduction among Nigerian women and youth, with a focus on inclusive growth in a post-MDG context.


The paper features a literature review which underwent a content analysis using a framework that emphasises inclusive growth based on innovation. The review included the HDI Education Index for Nigeria, and the Gender Development Index, which shows an Intensity of Deprivation for Nigeria at 55.2% for 2013, which is comparatively high for how wealthy the nation is. The study indicates that poverty reduction efforts in Nigeria are generally ineffective, mainly due to the misdirection of programmes from rural to urban areas, inadequate funding, lack of control, transparency and accountability, and inadequate coverage of the poor. However, significant progress has been made in terms of primary school enrollment, which is on target to hit the MDG target for 100% enrollment by 2015.

The study concludes that a number of actions need to be taken if Nigeria is to improve on its position of 152nd out of 187 countries in the HDI poverty reduction programme. First, entrepreneurial training programmes and capacity-building need to be increased, together with inclusive efforts aimed toward providing education and health facilities, catalysing integrated growth, income distribution, and financing land ownership. Additionally, inspiration could be taken from countries such as Chile and Malaysia, who have successfully boosted their economies by growing their agricultural exports. Other suggestions include national youth service schemes, and prison-inmate empowerment programmes to reduce cycles of poverty and crime. If such an integrated, inclusive approach were adopted,  backed by strong, independent, and transparent monitoring, then poverty in Nigeria can be substantially reduced in the coming post-2015 development agenda.

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