Africa is projected to account for more than 50 percent of the global population increase between 2015 and 2050. Future efforts to tackle poverty on the continent, therefore, will have to take a larger number of people into account. According to a study published by the U.N., Nigeria is expected to be the third most densely populated country in the world by 2050. The projected population growth in Nigeria, combined with its widespread poverty, will have consequences for the entire country.
It may be challenging to create primary and secondary schooling opportunities, health care facilities, clinics and transport at a rate sufficient to keep up with population growth in Nigeria. As a result, poor households may continue in poverty due to insufficient access to facilities that can improve employment and health prospects.
High unemployment rates in Nigeria are also an area of concern, as jobs are projected to become more scarce in the future due to rapid population growth. In 2015, approximately 70 percent of Nigeria’s youth population experienced either unemployment or underemployment. This statistic is unlikely to improve unless a conscious effort is made to create jobs in the country and to improve skills and technical knowledge.
Resources in the country such as food, water, energy and electricity are currently sparse and are likely to become progressively more so as the population increases. Active measures to expand these resources include providing financial incentives for farming and food industries and setting up local clean water supplies and power sources to sustain individual communities.
Nigeria’s growing population could have some positive effects if humanitarian efforts to eradicate poverty are directed toward younger generations. Increasing numbers of working age individuals can enhance economic growth and output if those individuals are equipped with training and education to improve their employability.
The issue of exponential population growth also needs to be targeted at its core. Quality family planning services need to be made readily accessible in rural Nigerian communities in order to ensure that households are well-informed about the responsibilities and costs involved in raising a child.
Population growth in Nigeria may well strain the country’s resources, but if appropriate measures are enacted, Nigeria will be sufficiently prepared for the years to come.
– Tanvi Ambulkar