Research and reports had shown that extreme poverty statistics have always been controversial. A number of countries and experts disagree with the way it is measured in monetary terms – the World Bank’s $1.90 earnings-per-day benchmark.
But no matter what the arguments might be, at the root of poverty lies the deprivation of people’s access to basic necessities such as food, healthcare and sanitation, education, and assets. And the evidence from many countries in the western world shows that solving these issues generally lifts populations out of extreme poverty.
As global attention turns towards my country, Nigeria, here are ways that concerned stakeholders and policymakers can assist in the efforts to achieve the first of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – to end poverty.
The below are the suggestions which if considered and implemented within a time frame, the result will be dazzling and the life of citizens of Nigeria will be better.
Invest in girls’ education: Nigeria is home to millions of out-of-school children, around half of whom are girls – and it is hardly coincidental that the country with the world’s highest number of out-of-school children is home to the highest number of people living in extreme poverty.
The most affected highly populated north-west and north-east region and the insurgency have contributed to low school attendance and years of schooling which affects their educational standard, followed by nutrition and child mortality- all issues affect women the most. However, educating girls is proven to have both economic returns and intergenerational impacts. For Nigeria to improve on this front, it must increase its investment in education.
Invest in health and wellbeing: Healthcare is linked to economic growth, and consequently to reducing poverty but lack of health care will increase health challenges which include malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, diarrhea, infant and maternal mortality, all of which have a sweeping impact on productivity. In order to end poverty, we must harness the demographic dividends through investment in health, education, and livelihoods with proper implementation and monitoring.
Economic growth approach, expand economic opportunities, and embrace technology: Ending poverty in Nigeria is easy if we take it holistically, this entails improving the country’s economic productivity and opportunities for its citizens. This will mean investing in human capital potential and creating jobs for women and young people, increasing financial access and opportunities for these groups in rural communities, and advancing technological innovation, capacity building, research and training. Also, access to microfinance has been proven to reduce poverty.
Basic needs approach: This encourages broad-based growth which focuses on capital formation as it relates to capital stock and human capital. This formation includes the education, health, and housing needs of labour. Also include the provision of basic needs such as food, shelter, water, sanitation, health care, basic education, transportation, which will upgrade the living standards among not only the poor class but also the youths. This is to ensure growth that focuses on poverty alleviation through the development and empowerment of youths
Rural development approach: This is an integrated approach to rural development which aims at the provision of basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, safe drinking water, education, health care, youth employment, and income-generating opportunities to the rural dwellers in general and the women and youths in particular.
Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Schemes/ Programmes
Youth Empowerment Scheme: This scheme will be focusing on capacity and skill acquisition, vocational training and mandatory attachment, productivity improvement, credit delivery, technology development, and enterprise promotion which are pivotal for developing the youth for productivity and entrepreneurship.
Rural Infrastructure Development Scheme: This scheme will motivate and encourage the youths because it is part of basic amenities that they should enjoy; provision of portable and irrigation water, transport (rural and urban), rural energy and power support. This is to encourage the youths into medium and large-scale agricultural practice to boost food production in the country.
Social Welfare Service Scheme: This will be focusing on social and welfare services like primary healthcare services, tourism establishment and maintenance of recreational centers, public awareness facilities, youth and student, hostel development, environment protection facilities like beach cleaning and environs, food security provisions, micro, and macro credit delivery, rural telecommunications facilities, provision of mass transit, and maintenance culture.
Natural Resources Development and Conservation Scheme: This will be focusing on the harnessing of the agricultural, water, social mineral resources, conservation of land and space (beaches, reclaimed land, etc. particularly for the convenient and effective utilization by small-scale operators and the immediate community.
May Nigeria succeed!!!