Information and news about nigeria

Entrepreneurship in Nigeria
Located in West Africa, Nigeria is one of the poorest countries in the world. The Federal Government of Nigeria, through a report by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2022, reported that 133 million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor. This accounts for about 63% of the country’s total population. Many cannot afford to fund their basic and essential needs and struggle to make a living every day.

One fundamental cause of poverty in Nigeria is the lack of employment. In March 2022, Professor Idris Bugaje, the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), reported that about 90 million Nigerian youths are unemployed. Many Nigerians do not have an education which makes it challenging for them to obtain jobs. Without employment, people often cannot be financially secure or meet basic needs. Currently, there are about 159 polytechnics and 221 universities in Nigeria, which produce up to 500,000 graduates every year with no jobs in the labor market. There are not enough job opportunities in the country even for those who have an education. However, entrepreneurship in Nigeria has proven to be effective in the reduction of unemployment.

Entrepreneurship in Nigeria

Through Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), entrepreneurship in Nigeria has contributed immensely to the economy. In fact, Vannesa Lerato Phala, the Country Director of the International Labour Congress said at the opening session of a workshop that took place in November 2022, at Abuja, that “In Nigeria, SMEs contribute 48% of national GDP, account for 96% of businesses and 84% of employment. This sector contributes significantly to alleviating poverty and increasing job creation.”

Entrepreneurs create employment opportunities for themselves as well as for others. Entrepreneurship in Nigeria impacts the country’s economic growth by bringing new products, techniques and processes to the market and also extensively increases productivity and competition amongst producers of goods and services. Many Nigerians now possess at least one entrepreneurial skill with which they are able to sponsor the lifestyle they wish to live. The government has helped increase awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship in Nigeria by introducing entrepreneurship studies as a compulsory course in higher institutions and establishing and supporting some programs that promote skill acquisition. Here are three entrepreneurship programs promoting entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

3 Entrepreneurship Programs Promoting Entrepreneurship in Nigeria

  1. The Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP): YEDP launched on March 15, 2016. It aims to promote resourcefulness by providing capital to youth entrepreneurs and start-ups that often face problems of inadequacy and high costs. Target beneficiaries of the program are graduates who are members of or have completed their service with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) after five years or less or those who possess a verifiable tertiary institution certificate. Beneficiaries also include artisans with a First School Leaving Certificate or a technical certificate or accredited proficiency certificate from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
  2. The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) Entrepreneurship Training Programme: The Development Bank of Nigeria has aimed to reduce the constraints that MSMEs face in Nigeria by providing loans and risk management tools. The DBN Entrepreneurship Training Programme began in 2019 to implement MSMEs with the prerequisites necessary for business growth and success. The training is usually open to business owners who are 18 years old and above, and are legal citizens of Nigeria.
  3. FGN Special Intervention Fund For MSMEs (National Enterprise Development Programme): This is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria targeted toward the provision of subsidized loans to MSMEs with 9% interest only. In order to promote and encourage the impact of MSMEs, which are engaged in manufacturing and agro-processing, on the economy of the country, the Federal Government of Nigeria established the Special Intervention Fund in 2015 to give funds necessary for local raw materials. With this program, SMEs can receive funding of up to 20 million Naira, for people to pay back with only 9% interest per annum.

Looking Ahead

With so many skills that entrepreneurs in Nigeria engage in, they have slowly proven to be the major drivers of job creation, wealth creation and industrialization. By promoting entrepreneurship in Nigeria, the government encourages those who are underprivileged, and without funds, to go ahead and pitch their business ideas for funding, this has resulted in significant progress in the country’s economy over the years.

– Oluwagbohunmi Bajela
Photo: Flickr

Charities Operating in Nigeria
In Nigeria, approximately four out of 10 citizens live in poverty, according to a report from the World Bank. The document details an analysis of Nigeria’s first official poverty numbers in almost 10 years, reporting upon the increase in poverty rates due to weaknesses in the labor market, minimal market growth and human capital as low as 0.4 in 2020. In the report, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri spoke about the overlap of financial and humanitarian interests. He remarked on the necessity of “boosting health and education, bolstering productive jobs, and expanding social protection.”

With elevated inflation rates pushing more than 8 million Nigerians below the poverty line, the World Bank stresses the three types of reforms for Nigeria:

  • Macroeconomic reforms
  • Policies supporting farm and farm-household enterprises’ productivity
  • Bettering electricity, water and sanitation access

Below are five charities operating in Nigeria which have aims that align with the listed reform focuses:

1. Lagos Food Bank Initiative

Founded in 2016, the Lagos Food Bank Initiative (LFBI) is a nonprofit that focuses on nutrition to fight hunger and reduce food waste. With a focus on children, pregnant women, lactating mothers, those with diet-related illnesses, citizens older than 50 years old and impoverished families, LFBI combats poverty on the front lines. Since its founding, LFBI has reached 160 communities through its various programs, such as:

  • Education Enhancement Intervention for Food Insecure Students (EDUFOOD)
  • Temporary Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
  • Family Farming Program
  • Nutritious Meal Plan Intervention for Vulnerable Mothers and Children (NUMEPLAN)
  • Job Placement Program
  • Nutrition Intervention for Diabetes Self-Management (NIDS)
  • Food Bank Network Nigeria

According to the 2021 annual report, LFBI distributed 641,207 kg of food and sundry, placed 195 citizens in jobs and served 294,855 beneficiaries, logging up to 33,3312 volunteer hours.

2. Amaudo Itumbauzo

Established in 1989, Amaudo Intumbauzo aids those “roaming the streets” and living with mental illnesses in southeast Nigeria. According to the website, as a result of both “negative cultural beliefs” and a lack of resources or understanding, many vulnerable Nigerians are left without treatment, care and even homes.

Amaudo aims to provide a place for healing, offering a rehabilitative “safe haven” while also administering community-based services on mental health awareness and discrimination. The organization’s rehabilitation center, Okopedi, accommodates up to 60 residents living with severe mental illnesses, helping residents with support through counseling, medication, training and family tracing. Through other projects, such as the Ntalakwu project, Project Comfort and the Community Mental Health Programme (CMHP), Amaudo works to promote a deeper understanding of mental illnesses and support those mental health effects.

3. The GEANCO Foundation: Saving and Transforming Lives

Established in 2005 by Godwin Onyema, the GEANCO Foundation (representative of the initials of each member of the Onyema family: Godwin, Ebele, Afam, Nche & Nma and Chukwogzie Onyema) is one of the five charities operating in Nigeria that aims to improve health care and save lives in Nigeria.

Since its founding, GEANCO has aided more than 200 Nigerians in receiving life-saving medical procedures, such as hip and knee replacements and bone structure repairs. Moreover, the organization makes significant donations to schools, and maternal and infant health facilities and funds “hundreds of thousands” of scholarships, all working to provide Nigerians with opportunities to secure a safe, healthy future.

4. TASTE Nigeria

TASTE is a U.K. charity that encourages volunteers from around the world to share expertise in sustainable technology with Nigerians. One of TASTE’s primary focuses in communal support is providing access to clean water. One way the organization aids communities is through funding the development of “powered burholes,” which pump fresh water through pipes, which they did recently in the town of Jemkur. From working with locals to developing community construction teams, TASTE supports community members through a series of “streams,” as listed on its website:

  • “Geological surveying of potential water locations.
  • Community support in the development of sanitation systems.
  • Drilling services for boreholes to supply clean drinking water.
  • Water delivery to needy communities.
  • Visiting schools in Jos to teach children about the work of TASTE and to help them understand the importance of basic hygiene principles.
  • Taking a high-profile approach to honest & ethical standards in business.”

5. Education as a Vaccine (EVA)

Education as a Vaccine (EVA) is a nonprofit that aims to improve Nigerian health and further development in Nigeria. EVA focuses on reaching the youth by providing “innovative, efficient and effective” education lessons on reproductive and sexual health as well as child rights. With nearly 46% of the population currently less than the age of 15, Nigeria’s 40 million women of “childbearing age” combat “disproportionately high levels of health issues surrounding birth.”

Founded in 2000, at the core of EVA is the belief that when equipped with necessary resources and support, young people contribute largely to the development of an entire country.

According to the website, EVA’s primary advocacy focus areas are:

  1. Passage and implementation of national legislation on health, HIV and AIDS basic education
  2. Financing and provision of female condoms
  3. Provision of comprehensive and integrated youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services
  4. Financing and scaling up quality implementation of comprehensive sexual education– in and out of school settings.

Since its founding, EVA has served 185,201 children, 464,925 youth and 70,671 adults. In total, EVA’s programs have reached 720,797 individuals through:

  • Advocacy
  • Care for Orphans and Vulnerable
  • HIV Prevention Education
  • Sexual & Reproductive Health Education

While these five charities operating in Nigeria are conducting meaningful and impactful work, they are just a few of many organizations focusing on alleviating the symptoms and causes of poverty. Each organization’s website show information about their work, current focuses, efforts and programs.

– Micaella Balderrama
Photo: Pixnio

USAID Programs in Nigeria
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is a government agency that provides aid and development assistance to countries around the world. In Nigeria, USAID has implemented several programs that aim to address key development challenges and promote inclusive economic growth, improve health and education outcomes and support democratic governance and civil society.

Power Africa: Expanding Electricity Access in Nigeria

USAID’s Power Africa program is focused on increasing access to electricity in Nigeria. The program works in collaboration with the government, private sector and civil society to accelerate the development of new power projects and improve the performance of existing ones. Through this program, USAID has helped introduce 3,043 megawatts of electricity production projects in Nigeria, bringing reliable power to more communities across the country.

Feed the Future: Reducing Poverty and Hunger in Nigeria

Another one of the USAID programs in Nigeria is Feed the Future, which aims to reduce poverty and hunger in the country. The program works with smallholder farmers and agribusinesses to increase productivity and access to markets, while also supporting the development of value chains for key commodities such as cassava, maize and rice. USAID’s efforts through Feed the Future have helped to increase agricultural production and incomes for thousands of farmers in Nigeria and have contributed to a reduction in malnutrition rates in targeted areas.

Feed the Future’s investments in 2019 led to the adoption of new farming technologies and improved management practices by 400,000 farmers, resulting in a significant increase in staple crop yields by 155% compared to 2018. Specifically, maize yields rose by 75% and rice yields increased by 37%. The program also resulted in greater participation of women and youth in agricultural markets and food systems, with 25% of participants being women and 28% being youth who received training and access to agricultural technology that led to increased crop yields.

Health Partnerships for Outcomes: Boosting Primary Health Care

USAID recently announced new partnerships in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria to accelerate primary health care in these countries. The partnership will leverage these countries’ global health footprint, which USAID has supported with an average of $415 million per year. This will improve coordination, synchronize investment initiatives and showcase significant improvement in primary health care.

The goal is to boost life expectancy, increase health equity and respond to disease outbreaks and arising health threats head-on. This action comes on the heels of USAID’s recent launch of the Accelerating Primary Health Care Collaborative, which intends to establish a unified primary health care approach while enhancing the exchange of information, technical integration and coordination.

Education: Increasing Access to Quality Education in Nigeria

USAID’s Education program focuses on increasing access to and improving the quality of education in Nigeria, with a particular emphasis on basic education and literacy. To achieve this, USAID works with the government and civil society to increase enrolment and retention in schools, particularly for girls and children in conflict-affected areas, and to improve the skills and knowledge of teachers and other education personnel. USAID’s efforts through this program have helped increase the number of children attending school in Nigeria and have contributed to a rise in literacy rates and improved educational outcomes.

Approximately 10 million primary school-aged children in the country do not enroll in formal education, according to estimates. USAID has targeted this issue through its Addressing Education in the Northeast (AENN) program in Borno and Yobe states. The program has successfully reached more than 20,000 out-of-school children in both formal and informal settings in Northeast Nigeria.

Combating Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria: USAID’s MOMENTUM Program

“In Nigeria, one in three women and girls aged 15 to 24 have experienced gender-based violence,” which often comes from close friends and family. By disguising it as tradition, culture and religion, this type of violence is normalized. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation.

USAID has partnered with the Nigerian government to launch a four-year program in Sokoto state which is in Northern Nigeria and Ebonyi state in the Southeast, to combat this near epidemic. A $5 million budget will help with the implementation of the MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership in Nigeria (MCGL) program. It seeks to reduce maternal and child mortality by expanding access to high-quality health care. It also seeks to address the causes of child, early and forced marriage, as well as to prevent and lessen the impact of violence against women and girls.

These USAID programs in Nigeria are making a significant impact on the country’s development and the well-being of its citizens. The programs cover a range of areas, from expanding electricity access and reducing poverty and hunger to improving health care and education. Overall, USAID’s programs in Nigeria are helping drive progress and sustainable development in the country.

– Nkechi First
Photo: Unsplash

Cervical Cancer In Nigeria
Cervical cancer in Nigeria is a major public health issue, as the country has 56.2 million women who are at risk of having the disease. Cervical cancer ranks second on the list of most common cancers in women ranging between the ages of 15 and 44, in Nigeria.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a virus that commonly transmits through sex, causes cervical cancer. It can transmit from mother to child. Cervical cancer is treatable when one detects it early and manages it clinically. According to WHO, HPV 16 and 18 are responsible for 70% of cases of cervical cancer.

In a 2021 report, the HPV Information Center stated that there were 12,000 new cases in 2020, while almost 8,000 women die annually from cervical cancer in Nigeria. This type of cancer affects the cervix. The cervix connects the uterus to the vagina in a woman and is located between the uterus and the vagina. The cervix functions in various processes such as menstruation, fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and also the protection of reproductive organs.

Treating Cervical Cancer in Nigeria

The poor health service system makes accessibility to the treatment of cervical cancer in Nigeria difficult. Being a low and middle-income country, Nigeria’s health system lacks cervical cancer services. Cervical cancer is preventable and treatable, but without the necessary vaccines and other health services, prevention and treatment are difficult.

Although HPV vaccines are effective, they cost a lot and are quite unaffordable. A dose of  HPV vaccine costs no less than 13,000 Naira ($29.18), three doses are necessary and the doses are only available in private health facilities. The scarcity of vaccines also stresses the ones who can afford them.

In November 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a cervical cancer screening and treatment project in Anambra state, Awka. The project aims at the treatment and prevention of cervical cancer in women of productive age across the state.

Some of the medical equipment and supplies that WHO donated include “four examination couches, 20 anglepoise lamps, 50 Cusco’s speculum, 15 instrument trolleys with wheels, 50 disposable aprons, 50 kidney dishes, 20 mackintoshes standard size, 100 packets of swab sticks, 10 punch biopsy forceps, 150 liters of 90% ethanol solution, etc.”

WHO has decided to train 100 health workers on the processes involving cervical cancer screening services and also provide ongoing technical support to ensure the project achieves its goal.

Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN)

Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN), collaborates with local government authorities and primary health care systems, in a bid to eliminate cost barriers, it also “conducts mobile outreach clinics offering a wide range of sexual reproductive health services, including cancer services, to vulnerable communities in hard-to-reach, poor and marginalized areas” free of cost.

The intervention of WHO and PPFN in various states of the country brings more awareness about cervical cancer. Making screening more available will make early detection and prevention possible.

– Oluwagbohunmi Bajela
Photo: Flickr

Elderly Poverty in Nigeria
In 2018, older persons constituted 3.1% or 5.9 million of the population in Nigeria. A percentage of the elderly were dependent on the youths trying to survive in a country with a declining economy. The number of older persons in poverty has inevitably increased, as the World Bank projected the number of impoverished people in Nigeria to hit 95.1 million in 2022. This is an addition of 5 million people post-pandemic.

Problems of Elderly Poverty in Nigeria

In past years, many have referred to Nigeria as the Giant of Africa, a Giant that the poor inhabit. A majority of elderly people belong to this group. This stems from the inability of the government to pay pensions regularly to the retired workforce. As a result of the delay in pension payments, some elderly persons still engage in “mental and manual work.”

Some elderly persons resort to begging to survive, while others expect support from their friends, relatives and children. However, their children struggle to make end means for themselves due to the declining economy, so most shirk the responsibility or expectations of their parents.

Inadequate social services, health facilities and nonexistent social security are reasons why the elderly in Nigeria are vulnerable to poverty and diseases, according to an African Health Sciences article. They suffer hardship in an increasingly hostile, competitive and intolerant society. Alleviating old­-age poverty requires full hands involvement from other age groups.

Solutions

Premium Times Nigeria has proposed that the pending bill, Older Persons (Rights and Privileges), would address several social and economic challenges the elderly face. The policy sets to create an advisory council at the federal, state and local levels of government on matters about aging.

For the total eradication of elderly poverty in Nigeria, support has to come from family members and the Federal Government of Nigeria. Building affordable and sustainable health centers across communities and regions is a solution to alleviating elderly poverty in Nigeria. Centers that address ailment irrespective of the financial endowment could lessen the burden of various health changes attributed to aging, according to BellaNaija.

NGOs are at the forefront of eradicating elderly poverty in Nigeria, an example being DewDrop Foundation. DewDrop Foundation seeks to end elder abuse. The NGO provides caregivers to administer professional care to elderly persons who live away from family. The organization also encourages the older generation to form associations to help members in need. It encourages the general population of Nigeria to join the fight against elderly poverty in Nigeria.

In conclusion, other age groups and the government of Nigeria need to work together to eradicate elderly poverty. The masses influencing the government to review policies and bills concerning older persons is a solution to elderly poverty. Implementing this policy not only empowers the older people in Nigeria but also empowers their communities.

– Chinwendu Mgbeahuru
Photo: Flickr

Nigerian SMEs
QShop is a Nigerian online platform that provides “businesses [with] a quick and easy way to build e-commerce websites,” according to How we made it in Africa. The QShop platform specifically targets markets in Nigeria and Africa, focusing on small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs). QShop helps Nigerian SMEs to transition to e-commerce so that businesses can expand their markets and see increased growth.

Poverty in Nigeria and the Role of SMEs

A new World Bank report, “A Better Future for All Nigerians: Nigeria Poverty Assessment 2022,” reveals that four out of 10 people in Nigeria live below the national poverty line. In the last quarter of 2020, the unemployment rate in Nigeria stood at 33%.

However, a 2010 report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says Nigeria’s SME sector has the potential to “absorb up to 80[%] of jobs, improve per capita income, increase value addition to raw materials supply, improve export earnings, enhance capacity utilization in key industries and unlock economic expansion and GDP growth.”

The Nigerian SME sector plays a crucial role in attenuating poverty. PricewaterhouseCoopers says SMEs are “the backbone of major developed economies.” In the five years preceding 2010, SMEs in Nigeria contributed 48% to the country’s GDP. Furthermore, SMEs accounted for 96% of businesses in Nigeria and 84% of employment. The QShop platform aims to support SMEs in Nigeria, encouraging even further growth.

How QShop Helps Nigerian SMEs

E-commerce has become more popular in recent years and a variety of e-commerce website builders are available for companies of all sizes, including Shopify, Square and Ecwid. Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, business closures and restrictions on operations pushed business owners to look for online solutions, leading to a higher demand for e-commerce-as-a-service solutions.

Tarebi Alebiosu, the founder of QShop, told Vanguard that amid the pandemic, technology played a vital role in the survival of small businesses. She established QShop with the specific intent of helping SMEs run their businesses online.

Head of technology at QShop, Harrison Hammond, said to Vanguard: “At QShop, we want to help customers grow from zero to a hundred with technology. We serve as the middle-man to bring all the tools — websites, inventory, payment channels and logistics — to one place.”

QShop helps Nigerian SMEs by being more affordable than many other e-commerce sites and pricing its paid subscriptions in nairas and not dollars. “Right now, nobody wants to incur costs linked to the dollar as our currency is experiencing serious devaluation,” Alebiosu said to How we made it in Africa.

QShop offers business owners a free and paid subscription. Businesses can opt for the free subscription where the company “takes 4% off every transaction, but there is no monthly fee.” About 5% of QShop clients are utilizing the paid subscription, as of November 2022, while the others utilize the free subscription. “We make money only if our clients are selling,” says Alebiosu to How we made it in Africa. The free tier ensures that businesses do not lose money if they initially struggle to sell.

The Future

So far, merchants have shown a significant amount of interest in QShop since its introduction. As of May 2022, the company has more than 10,000 SMEs registered and has processed more than $500,000 USD in seller sales. With the help of partnerships with Stripe, Flutterwave, Paystack and Providus Bank, merchants can receive funds in any currency.

The COVID-19 outbreak has negatively impacted Nigeria’s economy. However, this new platform has the potential to help small and medium enterprises thrive in an increasingly digital world. The positive impacts of QShop may reignite economic growth and reduce poverty among Nigerians.

– Caterina Rossi
Photo: Flickr

Assisting Flood Victims in Nigeria
Nigeria is a country in West Africa with a population of more than 210 million people. It is the most populous country in Africa and boasts one of the largest economies in Africa. Since September 2022, Nigeria has faced devastating floods that damaged Nigeria’s infrastructure and led to dire humanitarian consequences. These floods stand as the most destructive floods that Nigeria has experienced in more than 10 years. The floods have led to more than 600 deaths, more than 1 million displacements and thousands of injuries. Below are five charities assisting flood victims in Nigeria.

5 Charities Assisting Flood Victims in Nigeria

  1. International Rescue Committee (IRC). The IRC is a global relief agency that has been providing aid to Nigeria since the country’s previous extreme flooding event in 2012. The organization is committed to helping people in poor and vulnerable countries amid conflict and disasters. The IRC specifically supports Nigerians by providing them with food, water, shelter and health services. Nigeria has experienced large cholera outbreaks and an increase in preventable diseases as a result of the floods. In October 2022, the IRC helped Nigerians by providing hygiene and sanitation resources and health programming to stop the spread of these diseases. The IRC has also established three offices in Northeastern Nigeria to expand its crisis response efforts within the country. With more funding, the IRC can reach even more disaster victims in Nigeria.
  2. UNICEF Nigeria. This charity supports children in Nigeria who experience issues that stem from poverty including disease, violence and environmental disasters. Flooding in Nigeria has caused communities, such as those within Bayelsa State, to lose their homes, schools and other essential infrastructure. UNICEF has supported the Nigerian government’s response in three flood-affected states. UNICEF’s response includes “cash assistance, distribution of cholera kits, government-led mobile health teams, temporary learning centers [and] learning kits” the UNICEF website reports. With more support, this organization can scale its efforts and provide critical supplies, including medication, to those who need it the most.
  3. Save the Children Nigeria. For more than 20 years, the organization has supported vulnerable Nigerian children and their families. A November 2022 press release highlights Save the Children’s assistance to flood victims across several countries. In Nigeria specifically, Save the Children is providing flood victims with “life-saving food, safe drinking water, cash assistance, mattresses, blankets, mosquito nets, child protection services and emergency shelter kits,” according to the press release. The organization is assisting 36,000 children and 18,000 families in six of those most affected states.
  4. Nigerian Red Cross Society. This organization came about in 1960 through a parliamentary act. The organization helps vulnerable Nigerians facing “disaster, epidemics, armed conflicts” and other issues that bring humanitarian consequences. The Nigerian Red Cross announced an emergency appeal for funding in early November 2022 to raise more money for victims of Nigeria’s recent floods. This aid would support victims across Nigeria on a large scale. The charity has already mobilized more than 10,000 volunteers and hundreds of staff members to assist with “evacuation, camp management and relief activities.”
  5. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This United Nations body is dedicated to coordinating and strengthening international humanitarian responses to disasters. The OCHA facilitates effective responses to global emergencies, such as the floods in Nigeria, by mobilizing support and funding for affected nations. OCHA’s humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria has called for more support from the international community regarding flood relief efforts in Nigeria as well as a more coordinated effort to mitigate climate-related disasters.

Looking Ahead

These five charities assisting flood victims in Nigeria work to provide essential resources and aid to people who need help. Through their work into the future, flooding victims in Nigeria should be able to continue receiving support.

– Dylan Priday
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Waste-to-Income Strategy in NigeriaThe waste-to-income strategy in Nigeria is an innovative method to assist the nation’s economy while encouraging a more advanced approach to recycling. In a country that, on average, generates around 32 million tonnes of waste every year, of which 2.5 million tonnes is plastic, an emerging group of entrepreneurs is redefining the purpose of the waste straight from the dump. This could be one avenue for helping the country’s most vulnerable, especially considering that Nigeria’s poverty rate stood at nearly 40% in 2018. Here are some of the startup businesses that are making a profit with their waste-to-income strategy.

Scrapays

One popular waste-to-income strategy in Nigeria involves using technology to enable business agents to manage waste collection and disposal. The Scrapays startup aims to facilitate the recovery of recyclable waste in Nigeria using a decentralized ecosystem. Launched in 2019 by Tope Sulaimon, Boluwatife Arewa and Olumide Ogunleye, the company uses USSD, mobile app, web app and Internet of Things technology. The waste allocation starts with a waste producer placing a pickup order with a collector who has to weigh the items at the pickup point and pays the producer accordingly.

Typically, collectors are young and low-income individuals who carry out on-demand recovery tasks in a specific area. Next, the agents gather the waste from multiple collectors to dispose of them at the processing point. According to Arewa, Scrapays’ collectors’ network has grown by 25% monthly. Among the company agents, a commercial tricycle vendor makes around 1.3 million Nigerian nairas ($3,000) every six weeks from selling the vehicles’ packaging materials – cartons, plastic stretch wraps and light metals.

Mygbolat Waste Management

Another company that adopted a waste-to-income strategy in Nigeria is Mygbolat Waste Management. Established in 2021 by former banker Olatunji Olaribigbe, the company proposes to fight unemployment by addressing Nigeria’s trash crisis. More than 50 people currently work directly for Olaribigbe, as well as freelancers and contractors he pays on commission. He strives to expand the business to different locales to employ as many people as possible.

GIVO

GIVO (Garbage In Value Out), which Victor Boyle-Komolafe founded, is a tech company that enables other companies to assume circular business practices. Boyle-Komolafe’s goal is to eliminate plastic waste in Nigeria. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company started recycling plastic, producing 10,000 plastic face shields. Ten percent of the shields went to frontline workers in Nigeria, like doctors, nurses and teachers as well as people with poor health. In 2021, Boyle-Komolafe said that the company strives to recycle 150 million plastic bottles over the next five years.

Africa Creativity and Sustainability Hub

In Ibadan City, Umoke Olowokere is an artist and former teacher who runs a small organization dedicated to creating and innovating “new ways to reuse plastics, nylons, bottles, [tires], papers, dead plants, bamboo scrap fabrics, food wastes, old wood, and other wastes into functional interior and exterior products that are durable and cheaper.” To celebrate her 40th birthday in 2019, Olowokere donated outdoor play equipment to 40 schools in the city that their students helped make. The entrepreneur has also opened the Waste Museum with the goal of training individuals and organizations on sustainable ways of creating wealth through recycling and upcycling their waste.

The waste-to-income strategy in Nigeria is a revolutionary vision to address global challenges. Such companies are setting an example of how to tackle environmental issues while fighting against poverty.

– Caterina Rossi
Photo: Flickr

Flooding in Nigeria As the unusually heavy rainy season hit Nigeria, massive flooding swept across 33 of the country’s 36 states displacing more than 1 million people. More than 600 people died due to the natural disaster and many more experienced injuries. The swelling of the Niger River also destroyed more than 90,000 homes.

The 2022 floods are the worst in a decade and come at an already distressing time for Nigeria as its northern states have been experiencing widespread violence, forcing 3 million from their homes. An article appearing in The Guardian in 2020 highlights the dire state of drainage and infrastructure which exacerbates the problem. The article states “From Lagos Island to the mainland, the absence of a good drainage system is evident in the many roads that the floods have washed away…” The Nigerian government has also accused neighboring Cameroon of sending extra water from its annual release of the Lagdo dam, according to AP News.

Flooding Exacerbates Food Insecurity in Nigeria

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and has seen rapid urbanization in recent years, with over 211 million residents in 2021. As the country continues to expand, more economic potential is possible, though the wounds of colonial oppression still exist.

In addition to loss of life and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, the floods have also disrupted food supplies. Roads blocked by the river have halted trucks bringing in supplies to communities affected by the disaster. Thankfully, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that 12,000 metric tons of grain will be distributed among victims of flooding, though much more will be needed to provide adequate aid to victims of flooding in Nigeria.

“In the same region, more than 4 million people are projected to continue experiencing acute food insecurity amid the worsening global food crisis,” according to the U.S. Mission in Nigeria.

There is also an increased risk of waterborne illnesses and diseases including cholera. Cholera outbreaks were already declared in August and September across the Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states, where at least 7,750 cases were recorded.

Aid to the Country

During 2020 and 2021, the U.S. sent more than $500 million in relief to the country. In October 2022, the U.S. approved $1 million in immediate aid to the country, which will greatly help the situation by providing organizations on the ground to set up temporary housing and gain access to more relief commodities.

The EU is another donor, sending €58 million to Nigeria to fund food assistance and food rations for families in 2022.

Organizations like the Internation Rescue Committee, also help to bridge the gap by delivering clean water and food, as well as providing health and education services across the country.

Though much more funding will be necessary to adequately resolve the crisis flooding has caused, this is a huge help to those in need. The health and growth of developing nations such as Nigeria are essential to the development of the global economy.

– Shane Chase
Photo: Flickr

5G in Nigeria
On September 19, 2022, Ericsson announced that it had successfully launched 5G in Nigeria. The 5G hardware and software provider collaborated with Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) Nigeria to begin the first phase of deploying 5G technology throughout the country.

Phase one of the advancements has already started in certain parts of Lagos, one of the seven cities MTN aims to cover. Following this plan, MTN aims to roll out 5G networks throughout the country by the second half of 2022, to close the global digital divide.

The Continent’s Most Virtually Connected Country

Nigeria contributes to 29% of Africa’s internet usage and holds 82% of the continent’s telecom subscribers. This makes the country Africa’s most important information and communications technology (ICT) market.

According to a report by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry contributed up to 14.42% to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria in 2021. The commission accredits the growth to policy implementation, increased demand and investment.

The government of Nigeria (GON) views the ICT market as a key to the further development of the education, health care, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. The GON launched the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020-2030) in November 2019 to further diversify the economy from dependence on oil and gas. This program adheres to eight pillars including “Developmental Regulation, Digital Literacy & Skills, Solid Infrastructure, Service Infrastructure, Digital Services Development & Promotion, Soft Infrastructure, Digital Society & Emerging Technologies, Indigenous Content Development & Adoption.”

However, more than half of the Nigerian population does not have access to the internet. Those from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds have limited access to the internet, technology and ICT skills. This effectively creates a disparity in children’s education due to affordability, lack of infrastructure, perception of digital tech and already-present socioeconomic inequalities.

About 5G

According to the Ericsson website, “5G is the fifth generation of cellular networks, enabling faster connectivity and data transference.” It can use the same radio frequencies that smartphones, Wi-Fi and satellite communications currently use but with additional functions. The implementation of 5G allows reliable, accessible and secure real-time interactions between devices as well as efficient data processing at a higher capacity.

According to Ericsson, 5G is capable of aiding in economic recovery. Expectations determined that these new integrations in info and comms, wholesale/retail, public services and manufacturing will “contribute $13.2 trillion to the global economy by 2035.” Along with the internet of things (IoT) (how physical devices connect, exchange and store data), predictions stated that 5G digital technologies will reduce up to 15% of global emissions by 2030.

The Basics of Spectrum Trading

Spectrum trading applies the concept of property rights to radio frequencies. This ensures a more accessible market for users, increasing efficiency amongst businesses and companies which then invest back into new technology.

By relying on administrative assignments and increased accessibility, spectrum trading allows license holders to react to the rapidly changing markets. Some rights applied to license-protected spectrums include: how long it can be used, within what geographical area and what it can be used for.

In Nigeria, spectrum trading is under the jurisdiction of the NCC. Rules that the NCC set in 2021 outline requirements for eligible sellers and buyers by setting minimum spectrum-holding times and having “sound regulatory and financial standing with the Commission.”

In December of 2021, telecommunication companies MTN and Mafab Communications paid around $550 million for the licenses to distribute 5G in Nigeria. The companies received a deadline of August 24, 2022, to launch the service.

Complications with licensing consequently postponed efforts to develop 5G in Nigeria. At the start of August 2022, MTN had already prepared around 127 sites for testing. However, Mafab was still waiting for the proper licensing needed to distribute (both spectrum and Universal Access Service Licence (UASL).

Other challenges that have impacted the ICT sector include taxation at federal, state and local governments, several regulatory bodies, right of way (RoW) charges and damage to existing infrastructure due to cable theft.

Improving Connectivity for All

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is implementing a “digital economy policy” for Nigeria to enforce a sustainable digital ecosystem. The policies include improved data privacy and protection, increasing digital literacy for youths, enforcing reliable internet connections and integrating digital solutions for different industries.

The successful establishment of 5G in Nigeria would improve healthcare, food security, manufacturing and IoT. The upgraded network would allow healthcare professionals to provide better diagnostics and treatment with hi-tech machinery (EX: EKG machines), digital record archives and telemedicine. This allows for more affordable and accessible healthcare services for those residing in remote low-density locations.

Applications related to IoT will reduce manufacturing costs and accelerate the development of smart cities/smart grids to enhance productivity and create new revenue streams. Smart agriculture/farming supported by 5G could enhance crop and livestock monitoring systems, allowing precise identification of areas that need water, are prone to disease or require pest management.

Plans are in the works to launch in Abuja, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Kano and Maiduguri to fulfill MTN’s first phase in bringing commercial 5G to Nigeria. The telecommunications company aims to provide full national 5G coverage by 2025.

– Aishah French
Photo: Wikimedia Commons