World Poverty Eradication Day: Nigeria - where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer

Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the most extreme poor people in the world. It is also home to Africa's richest man - Aliko Dangote
  • Nigeria overtook India back in June 2018 as the nation with the highest number of people (86.9 million vs what is India’s 73 million) living in extreme poverty. Since then, an additional 6.8 million Nigerians have slipped into extreme poverty, according to the World Poverty Clock. 
  • Oxfam, an international human rights organisation, recently reported that Nigeria now has 94.5 million people living in extreme poverty while the latest Wealth Report by AfrAsia Bank reveals that the combined fortune of the wealthiest Nigerians is $225 billion.
  • We take a look at this disparity as the United Nations (UN) marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty today.

Nigeria is home to extremely poor and rich people with a huge gap existing between the two groups.

Courtesy of the World Poverty Clock, a web tool produced by World Data Lab, we know that more people (an estimated 120 million Nigerians) are expected to slip into extreme poverty by 2030. 

This has been attributed to the country’s weak poverty alleviation strategies, unemployment, civil unrest and conflict in the North.

Wealth inequality between the rich and less privileged in Nigeria

Africa’s High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) - people with net assets of $1 million and above - is led by Aliko Dangote, who is from Nigeria. 

Bloomberg estimates that he is worth $15.1 billion. He is followed by Mike Adenuga, with $2.8 billion. Together, these two are worth a total of $17.9 billion.

The new report from wealth research firm Wealth-X estimates that the number of Nigerian HNWIs will increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.3 percent between now and 2023 while six Nigerians become poor every minute, according to the World Poverty Clock.

This alarming disparity between the rich and poor goes beyond Nigeria with the wealthy elite holding 42% of Africa’s total wealth ($2.2 trillion). 

With Nigeria and the rest of Africa rapidly becoming the epicentre of global extreme poverty, the responsibility to change this narrative falls on the government and these super-wealthy individuals.

There is a pressing need to introduce effective policies that will reduce poverty and for these Nigerian HNWIs to invest in important sectors like education and agriculture.

As Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, right said: “African political and business leaders face a clear choice. They can stay on the path of increasingly extreme inequality, where poverty continues to rise while wealth in the hands of a tiny elite and foreign companies’ spirals. Or they can choose another way: towards a more prosperous and equal Africa that invests in and respects the dignity of all its people.”

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