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Child Sexual Abuse in NigeriaChild sexual abuse in Nigeria is rampant and as high as one in four girls and one in 10 boys. Cece Yara is an organization dedicated to preventing and ending the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. The words, Cece Yara, are from the Hausa language which means “save the child” and truly encompasses the mission of the foundation.

The Mission

The Cece Yara Foundation is an NGO with a mission to prevent the sexual abuse of children and provide emergency assistance and care. Bola Tinubu, a child activist and lawyer, founded the organization and she believes in protecting the safety of all children. The Foundation works in coordination with counselors, law enforcement and educators to ensure that every child lives with innocence and safety throughout their life.

Child sexual abuse is still a silent issue in Nigeria and there are many myths surrounding it. The Foundation also works to correct these myths and educate the public on how rampant the sexual abuse of children actually is. The organization believes that educating adults is the first step in preventing this abuse. Cece Yara ensures that every adult in a child’s life is aware of the signs of sexual abuse in a child and how to prevent it or even intervene.

Cece Yara also provides counseling services and a child forensic interview. The interview is a structured conversation between a counselor and a child to teach the child how to recount an incident of sexual abuse. Many children are afraid to come forward about abuse either because they are ashamed or confused. The forensic interview allows them to feel safe enough to get the help they desperately need.

Nigeria’s First Child Helpline

The Cece Yara Foundation has recently implemented the first child helpline in Nigeria. The helpline is available 24 hours a day and has professionals, trained on how to talk to children, answering the line. There are two lines; Cece Yara offers one free for children and the other paid for adults. This line serves to provide immediate help and assistance to a Nigerian child suffering from sexual abuse.

Child Abuse and Poverty

Children in developing nations are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation compared to those living in high-income countries due to the stress associated with poor living conditions. Alleviating poverty can have a significant impact on the rate of child abuse in an impoverished region.

The Cece Yara Foundation has been able to help 2,000 children in Nigeria since its launch in 2016. It has had a tremendous impact on the lives of Nigerian children who have suffered or are suffering from sexual abuse. The Cece Yara Foundation is fighting for a future that is safe for the children of Nigeria.

– Olivia Halliburton
Photo: Pixabay

Poverty in Nigeria
Nigeria is currently experiencing extreme global poverty. According to the World Poverty Clock, the poverty rate in Nigeria is 44.4 percent out of a population of about 198 million.

ActionAid Fights Poverty in Nigeria

As poverty continues to rise in Nigeria, there is definitely hope for a better future. ActionAid, a global humanitarian organization, is trying to eradicate poverty in Nigeria and continuing their service despite the growing statistics.

ActionAid in Nigeria seeks equal rights for all genders, social justice and fight the growing epidemic of poverty. It is hoping to create a world where Nigeria’s population doesn’t have to suffer anymore. They work with communities, social movements and the poor in order to provide aid needed in the country.

ActionAid’s Work in Nigeria

ActionAid’s programs involve health, education, food and agriculture, human security in conflict and emergencies, women’s rights and democratic governments. These projects are needed to ensure a better future in Nigeria.

ActionAid has been continuing their work in Nigeria, including their aid and assistance in 2018. According to Vanguard, in October 2018, ActionAid is finding ways to help displaced persons in Nigeria. It has donated about N3million toward relief materials. This donation will help many of those in the Abagena Internally Displaced Persons camp who have suffered the herdsmen crisis.

According to the ActionAid Nigeria Country Director, Ene Obi, they “‘brought about 380 mattresses, 350 bags of rice, 436 packs of sanitary pads, 341 packs of diapers for babies, five sets of baby bath, five cartons of baby food and 436 packs of bar soaps for washing and personal hygiene use.'” These materials will help many who are currently displaced and are suffering poverty.

Women and Children in Nigeria

ActionAid also focuses on women and children. It has provided start-up kits to about 100 women in Nigeria. This organization provided assistance to many women in the Northeast in order to give them an opportunity to create and begin building small businesses.

According to Obi, the women are being trained to gain skills and knowledge to provide for their families by starting their own microbusinesses. Whether it’s tailoring, producing food or sewing, ActionAid is doing everything it can to make sure these women escape poverty and are able to provide food to their children.

Alleviating Poverty in Nigeria and Nonprofits

There are other organizations that are trying to end poverty in Nigeria. The MacArthur Foundation, for example, has been supporting organizations and work that has been done to eradicate inequality and the lack of education in the country. The foundation has been creating grants with the purpose of supporting higher education for girls.

The Youth Education and Leadership Initiative or YELI is an organization that wants to reduce education-related issues and challenges in Nigeria. Their goal and mission are to provide programs that enhance both primary and secondary education and help build effective leadership. This is to not only reduce poverty but also help build peace among the youth. These projects include providing the poor with small libraries, scholarships, seminars and even workshops.

Conclusion

ActionAid as well as other nonprofits are working to end poverty in Nigeria. Although poverty is becoming an increasing epidemic in the country, there is still hope for the people and the future.

– Charlene Frett

Photo: Flickr

poverty and overcrowding
The world is experiencing rapid population growth and urbanization. Advances in medicine have allowed for increased life expectancy as well as decreased infant mortality, while birth rates have largely remained unchanged. This combination of circumstances has lead to great growth; between 1999 and 2011, the population increased by nearly one billion people.

The population increase has led to rapid urbanization. People migrate to cities with the promise of economic or educational opportunity, technological advancement and access to health care. It is estimated that by 2050, 66 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas.

This urbanization of cities that are neither prepared nor equipped to deal with overcrowding places strain on both natural and manmade resources alike. The following is a list of five cities suffering from both poverty and overcrowding.

Five Major Cities Dealing With Poverty and Overcrowding

  1. Mumbai, India: With a population density of 171.9 people per square mile, India is notorious for overcrowding. Mumbai is no exception, with a population near 23 million and a population density of almost 70,000 people per square mile.Mumbai serves as India’s commercial hub and is home to the Bollywood industry, making it prone to migration. Yet, those with hopes of Bollywood often end up in prostitution or organized crime. The population has doubled in 25 years, leading to many slum neighborhoods.In fact, half of the population of Mumbai lives in overcrowded, unsanitary slums that comprise only eight percent of the city’s geographic area. Although great wealth exists throughout Mumbai, poverty and overcrowding continue to increase.
  1. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Being named the most densely populated city in the world in 2015, Dhaka suffers from overcrowding and poverty alike. It has also been named to lists of least livable cities and fastest growing cities.Its population is over 18 million, with a density of 114,300 people per square mile. Roughly one-third of Dhaka’s residents live in poverty, with two million inhabiting slums or without any form of shelter.
  1. Lagos, Nigeria: Lagos is Africa’s fastest growing city. In 2017, the population was 21 million; the U.N. predicts that this number will rise to over 24 million by 2030.Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and a lagoon, Lagos is Nigeria’s commercial capital. Yet, 300,000 people live in slum neighborhoods and make a living by fishing out of hand-built canoes.  One-fifth of the city’s residents live in poverty.The slum houses are fashioned from scrap-metal and elevated on stilts to protect against flooding. There is little access to clean water, electricity or quality education. The majority of slums are built along the coast, causing friction with the wealthy as well as the government, which has evicted many communities on faulty logic in order to seize the land.
  1. Manila, Philippines: Manila has a population of 1.7 million and a land area of less than 10 square miles, leading to a high population density of over 170,000 people per square mile. Manila serves as the Philippines capital and home of its banking and commerce industries.In Manila, 600,000 people live in slum districts, which are ridden with disease and malnutrition. Many kids do not attend school, as parents are often forced to choose between feeding the family or sending the kids to school.
  1. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: Ulaanbaatar boasts the highest population density on this list, with over 760,000 people per square mile. The influx in population resulted in unplanned neighborhoods known as “ger” areas, which house 60 percent of Ulaanbaatar’s population but are vulnerable to natural disasters and lack water and sanitation sources as well as electricity.A number of expensive apartment buildings mark the city’s skyline, yet many of these buildings remain empty due to the high cost of living. The government intervention has tended to benefit the upper-income subgroups, rather than those living in poverty.

Poverty and overcrowding are endlessly entwined. Rather than placing a halt on migration and urbanization as many cities have attempted, lack of affordable housing, quality water and sanitation facilities, education opportunity and food shortages ought to be addressed. Cities must respond to the growing demands that come with overcrowding in order to help alleviate poverty and decrease hardship.

– Jessie Serody
Photo: Flickr

poverty in LagosLagos, Nigeria is the fastest-growing city in the world, set to become a megacity by 2020. However, with its booming growth comes an underlying pang: millions suffer in poverty. Just how many, what caused so many to go hungry, and what is being done about it? Here are ten facts about poverty in Lagos.

10 Facts About Poverty in Lagos

  1. Nigerian statistics report that 8.5 percent of the near 21 million people living in Lagos, Nigeria live in poverty — about 1.7 million people.
  2. Overpopulation is a major factor in the growing number living below the poverty line. Also referred to as the city that won’t stop growing, Lagos does not have sufficient economic opportunities for the thousands of people who relocate there weekly. There is a shortage of jobs and housing.
  3. Government corruption and greed add to poverty concerns in Lagos. In 2017, it was reported that police officers raided the town of Otodo-Gbame, leaving thousands of poor Nigerians homeless. The raid was part of deals made with wealthy investors who desire more waterfront land. Instead of lifting the poor from slums in Lagos, wealthy investors are bulldozing waterfront slums to build high-rises and luxury hotels.
  4. The growing homeless population continues to fuel poverty in Lagos. Some 300,000-plus Nigerians are homeless in the growing city, mostly due to state-ordered demolitions and lack of space.
  5. According to Justice and Empowerment Initiatives Nigeria, 65 percent of the people living in Lagos are urban poor who live in slums and settlements.
  6. Thousands of poor residents in Lagos lack access to clean water. CNN reported a water crisis in Lagos which highlighted demand outweighing supply, some of the water never reaching households due to terrible water infrastructure.
  7. Millions lack access to roads, electricity and waste disposal, a result of being forced to live in slums and lagoons near locations that may hire them to work as domestic staff workers.
  8. Poverty leads to sickness and disease, both of which are common amongst those living in poverty in Lagos. According to the World Health Organization, from Jan. 1 to Apr. 15, 2018, 1,849 cases of Lassa fever were found in 21 states in Nigeria, with Lagos among them. This is a viral disease usually acquired from infected rat, and most sufferers live in areas where they don’t have access to hospitals or healthcare.
  9. Lack of education sparks poverty. Many families who live in slums and settlements cannot afford to send their children to school. As well, school facilities that offer quality education are not available for children who live in slum environments. If they are lucky enough to go to school, it’s a nearby meeting place, a small school building on the water where 100 pupils cram in to be taught by one teacher.
  10. Economic inequality has been an ongoing battle in Lagos for years. In an article concerning economic inequality in Lagos, it was reported that one could be looking at a mansion in close proximity to a slum. The Lagos government made claims it is fighting to create wealth in the midst poverty.

These facts skim the surface of the issues that are causing millions of Lagosians to live in poverty. However, they do shed light on issues that can be tackled with the right policies and aid.

In the meantime, the Lagos government is developing strategies to uplift all in Lagos. Governor Akinwunmi, through the N25 Billion Employment Trust Fund, plans to make more Lagosians self-employed, creating 300,000 direct and 600,000 indirect jobs by 2019.

As surety, the Lagos Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment was created to encourage entrepreneurship by using strategies that create wealth. Lagosians are expecting to see a turnaround on poverty in years to come.

– Naomi C. Kellogg

Photo: Flickr

How the Media Misrepresents NigeriaAs Africa’s most populous country, with roughly 186 million people, Nigeria is a driving force in Africa’s overall economy. In recent years, the country has surfaced in the mainstream Western media, mainly relating to reports about multiple terrorist attacks committed by Boko Haram as well as reports on extreme poverty in the nation. 

Due to news reports highlighting Nigeria’s plights, positive news is often overshadowed, news that sheds light on the innovation that is happening in the nation. As a result, what may not be as commonly known is how the media misrepresents Nigeria.

Planned Changes Ahead

The current president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has established a plan to fuel economic growth. The government has established the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which address and proposes initiatives to resolve economic issues within Nigeria.

According to the plan, which includes the National Industrial Revolution Plan, the government plans to focus “on priority sectors to generate jobs, promote growth and upgrade skills to create 1.5 million jobs by 2020.” It is predicted that President Buhari’s plan is expected “to reduce unemployment from 13.9 percent as of Q3 2016 to 11.23 percent by 2020.”

The rampant reports of violence in the nation often overshadow the president’s plan to reverse economic plights and is an example of how the media misrepresents Nigeria.

The Media Misrepresents Nigeria by Ignoring Its Growing Industries

Civil conflicts have overshadowed Nigeria’s multiple booming industries that are captivating audiences abroad, and this serves as another example of how the media misrepresents Nigeria. The following industries are bringing Nigeria’s domestic talent to the limelight, creating the potential for the nation’s economy to transform dramatically over time. 

Nollywood

As of 2009, Nigeria’s film industry has grown to become the second largest film industry in the world, behind Bollywood, India’s film industry. The industry has a valuation of $3.3 billion and produced 1,844 films in 2013. As the nation continues to develop, the film industry is only expected to grow over time.

Nigeria’s Music Industry

Nigeria has a thriving music industry, with big names in music seeing success abroad. Afrobeats, as it is commonly referred to, is a niche of West African music that has made its artists into stars overseas. Even domestically, Nigeria’s music scene is a promising sector for the nation to continue to improve its economy. In 2015 alone, the nation’s music industry generated an estimated $56 million, and domestic revenues from music are expected to increase over time.

A Booming Tech Industry

Over the past few years, Nigeria has seen growth in its tech industry, with its startups becoming successful and gaining attention from big-time investors. Nigeria’s tech industry is known as Africa’s “most valuable ecosystem” and is the founding place for many notable startups, including Andela, iROKO and Flutterwave. In 2016, the nation attracted more investments than any other startup ecosystem in Africa, with $109.37 million raised from investments.

With the nation being a leader in innovation in Africa, it is expected that in the forthcoming years Nigeria will become more of a global presence, shedding more light on the great things that are happening in the nation.

 – Lois Charm

Photo: Flickr

working to end Lassa fever in NigeriaLassa fever is a growing epidemic for many Nigerians. The World Health Organization reports that 72 Nigerians have died from the disease while 317 others are infected. Lassa fever has also spread to 18 Nigerian states since its outbreak in January. However, many entities are working to end Lassa fever in Nigeria.

  1. ALIMA Treats Lassa Fever Patients
    In January 2018, the Alliance for International Medication Action (ALIMA) commenced a rapid emergency response to Nigeria’s Lassa fever epidemic. ALIMA also supported the rehabilitation of a 38-bed treatment center for patients in Owo.
    “The goal is to catch cases early, and improve the chances of survival for those who become infected,” said Guillaume Le Duc, ALIMA’s Lassa fever coordinator.
  2. The Cross River’s Sensitization Against Lassa Fever
    On Jan. 30, 2018, Nigeria’s Cross River state increased its sensitization and awareness campaign against Lassa fever, hoping to prevent further outbreaks of the disease. Dr. Inyang Asibong, Cross River’s commissioner for health, said the campaign was necessary since two cases of Lassa fever were recorded from migrants who entered Cross River. Asibong also gave nose masks, disposable gowns, gloves and other protective equipment to the state’s health workers.
  3. Gombe’s Investment to Prevent Lassa Fever
    On Jan. 31, 2018, Nigeria’s Gombe state earmarked ₦20 million for preventing the outbreak of Lassa fever to its people. Dr. Kennedy Ishaya, Gombe’s state commissioner for health, said the funds were part of the amount set aside for Gombe’s Rapid Response Committee (RRC). Gombe’s RRC will use the money to protect the state’s people from Lassa fever and other diseases.
  4. Hand Washing Helps Prevent Lassa Fever
    On Feb. 5, 2018, UNICEF and the Imo state’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) sensitized Nigerians on how handwashing can prevent Lassa fever.
    “Medical reports have it that the simple act of washing hands constantly with soap can reduce infections by 50 percent,” said Nkechi Okorocha, wife of the Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha. Chika Edom, the RUWASSA program manager, said that hand washing is part of UNICEF’s initiative to keep Nigeria’s people alive and healthy.
  5. Nigeria’s Proposal for a More Established CDC
    On Feb. 8, 2018, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) asked the National Assembly to pass a bill that would financially help the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (CDC) treat Lassa fever cases. Dr. Mike Ogirima, the NMA president, was displeased from poorly-equipped ambulances transferring Lassa fever patients to the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo. Though the bill went through first and second readings at the house level, it has yet to be passed into law.
  6. The World Health Organization Works to Contain Lassa Fever
    On Feb. 20, 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced it was working to end Lassa fever in Nigeria. The WHO deployed staff to support Nigeria’s government agencies. The WHO’s representatives are also helping rapid response teams contain Lassa fever in the Ondo, Ebonyi and Edo states.
  7. Redeemer University Could Eliminate Lassa Fever
    On Feb. 20, 2018, Redeemer University revealed its capacity to contain and eliminate Lassa fever through research activities.
    “We are behind the scene, providing solutions to Lassa fever in the country,” said Debo Adeyewa, the university’s vice-chancellor. Adeyewa also revealed that the Lassa fever outbreak was being managed at the Edo state’s Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital.
  8. Governor Obaseki’s Work to Contain Lassa Fever
    On Feb. 22, 2018, Governor Godwin Obaseki said that no case of Lassa fever had been reported at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital for the past two weeks. Governor Obaseki’s administration purchased and deployed equipment to the hospital and is working to end Lassa fever in Nigeria.
    “That no death has been recorded since our intervention goes to show that we read the signs correctly, mobilized skilled manpower and tackled the challenge head-on,” said Crusoe Osagie, Obaseki’s special adviser on media and communication strategy.
  9. The U.K.’s Work for Nigeria
    On Feb. 27, 2018, the U.K. sent two epidemiologists, a logistician and other experts to help Nigeria contain its Lassa fever outbreak. The U.K.’s public health rapid support team will also provide Nigeria with research assistance.
    “Viruses like Lassa Fever do not respect borders, and it is only right that we share our expertise with countries facing serious outbreaks around the world,” said Public Health Minister Steve Brine.

While many Nigerians continue to be infected with Lassa fever, efforts to treat and save patients’ lives will not stop. The World Health Organization, the U.K. and other entities are working to end Lassa fever in Nigeria and could inspire more parties to help. Supplying the country’s hospitals with necessary medical equipment to treat patients will also play a role in helping Nigeria control Lassa fever and other diseases.

– Rhondjé Singh Tanwar

Photo: Flickr

facts about poverty in Nigeria
Nigeria is known for having one of the more affluent economies in Africa; a large oil drilling industry ensures that the country always has a consistent revenue stream. But the lives of people in Nigeria reflect poverty rather than affluence —  here are the top 10 facts about poverty in Nigeria:

The Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Nigeria

  1. According to Nigeria’s Special adviser to the President on Social Protection, poverty in Nigeria affects an estimated 67 percent of the population. That’s 124,620,000 people who live without sufficient means to support themselves or their families.
  2. Nigeria has a current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) worth of $405.10 billion, and represents more than half a percent of the world economy. Its main industry is oil, which contributes to poverty in Nigeria and ruins water sources due to constant oil spills.
  3.  In addition to the Nigerian economy being on the rise, the figure for citizens living in absolute poverty has also risen 12.3 percent from 54.7 percent in 2004. “Despite the fact that the Nigerian economy is growing, the proportion of Nigerians living in poverty is increasing every year” said the head of Nigeria’ Bureau of Statistics, Yemi Kale.
  4. Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Service Reform urged attention to a housing shortage in the country that left over 108 million Nigerians homeless. There are 100,000 houses built yearly in the country, but with hundreds of million homeless and living in poverty, this is insufficient to support the nation’s needs.
  5. While facts about poverty in Nigeria illustrate how the country makes most of its money from its oil sector, the nation has unfortunately become overly-dependent on this single industry. Due to this reliance, other areas of the economy that host a majority of available jobs — agriculture, palm oil production and coconut processing — are in decline.
  6. Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, states that the government understands this problem and is gearing up to provide 300,000 new jobs for young people in 2018. He said that by ensuring a higher percentage of the population works, Nigeria will counter both poverty and violent extremism. Mohammed said, “The N-Power program of the government has deployed over 200,000 young Nigerians to schools, primary healthcare centers and agriculture centers.”
  7. The World Food Programme (WFP) has spent over $126 million on food aid for Nigerians. The WFP has also helped 1.1 million food-insecure north-eastern Nigerians. Due to a lack of means and money, 5 million Nigerians were hungry at the beginning of 2017; but by the end of 2017, that number was reduced to 2.5 million.
  8. According to a report by UNICEF, an unacceptable majority of households in Nigeria drink contaminated water. Although 64.1 percent of Nigerians have access to improved drinking water sources, 90.8 percent of Nigerian households drink water contaminated with feces and other substances like E-coli.
  9. Nigeria has one of the fastest growing populations in the world due to a lack of family planning and an influx of refugees. The Catholic Church in Nigeria says the continued entry of refugees from Cameroon has worsened the poverty situation in Nigeria. According to Caritas Nigeria, poor areas were being overburdened by the significant amount of Cameroonians fleeing war in their home country.
  10. Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) found that poverty was most apparent in the north of Nigeria, with certain northern states having a poverty rate near 86 percent. The NBS also found that Nigerians consider themselves to be getting poorer.

The Need for Diversification

These facts about poverty in Nigeria make one thing clear: the nation needs to diversify its economy and prepare its younger generation by emphasizing education. The high level of homelessness and poverty is a stark contrast to the country’s relative affluence; although statistics show that poverty in Nigeria is on the decline, the progress is sluggish. In the meantime, upwards of a hundred million people undertake a day-to-day struggle to scrape by.

– Sam Bramlett

Photo: Flickr

Credit Access in NigeriaNigeria is a business-oriented economy, with an estimated 37 million micro, small and medium-sized companies (MSMEs). The entrepreneurial economy contributes roughly 48 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and employs over 60 million people, making Nigeria the largest economy in the sub-Saharan region.

Although these numbers look promising, few businesses are successful in obtaining loans from financial institutions. According to The Credit Crunch, a joint report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), of the 840 MSMEs surveyed in Nigeria, only 31 percent successfully obtained a loan from a bank or microfinance institution. MSMEs are often burdened by a myriad of challenges like multiple taxation systems and high costs. The risks associated with credit access in Nigeria stem from many causes.

Lack of Collateral

To secure a loan from financial institutions, collateral is one of the prerequisites. This protects the lending bank in case the borrower defaults on the loan. For MSMEs looking for small business loans, inadequate collateral is a major reason for not receiving loans.

Secure land is the most common collateral for banks in Nigeria, but only 5 percent of the land is formally titled, mostly consisting of urban land or commercial farms. Low-income households own a large portion of rural land, which does not have validated titles.

This acts as a major obstacle for microenterprise owners and low-income households that are keen to obtain affordable credit from formal financial institutions. Many analysts argue that the provisions and implementations of the Land Use Act of 1978 are largely responsible for limiting the authenticated titling of rural land. Since banks ask for land or buildings as collateral in 98 percent of loan applications, low-income loan seekers remain unable to secure loans.

But efforts are being made to allow greater use of moveable and reputational collateral in bank loans. The CBN recently established the National Collateral Registry to improve credit access in Nigeria. Additionally, it is supporting the development of a modern credit reporting system in Nigeria with backing from the World Bank.

No Awareness of Credit Reporting System

Many borrowers are unaware of their credit history, and despite having a good credit record, they are reluctant to apply for loans simply because they do not meet the collateral requirements.

This becomes a concern for borrowers, particularly rural dwellers looking for microloans for their small businesses. They have been reluctant to approach banks for loans, which in turn has slowed down the entrepreneurial growth of small businesses that may have had a promising growth but could rarely take off due to a lack of financing.

The country remains a part of a large-scale campaign, the Credit Reporting and National Collateral Registry Education and Awareness Campaign. The campaign’s goal is to create awareness of credit tools through the collateral registry and the credit reporting system and is a collaborative initiative of the CBN and IFC. Such efforts promise to promote responsible lending and borrowing among those borrowers.

CBN has also teamed up with other stakeholders to promote the Credit Awareness campaign. The campaign promises to educate consumers on rural financial services and shares information on issues that will improve and allow greater appreciation of the rights and responsibilities of microfinance institutions and other financial institutions, along with their clients and stakeholders. Subsequently, Credit Awareness Nigeria plans on launching another public campaign on credit awareness and financial literacy to bring together microfinance practitioner institutions, development partners, stakeholders and clients of microfinance institutions.

No Interaction with Financial Institutions

Of those surveyed, less than a third of MSMEs successfully acquired loans for their businesses. A reason for this is that rural borrowers do not have an established relationship with banks. Due to their lack of interaction with financial institutions, rural borrowers fail to understand the conditions of getting a loan or the required loan application procedures. This also causes problems for rural dwellers who do not have a credit history, resulting in borrowers resorting to informal savings and reinvested profits.

Nigerian Businesses Remain Hopeful

While there remain considerable concerns about inadequate credit access in Nigeria, not all hope is lost. MSMEs overall have confidence in Nigeria’s economy and feel that economic growth will improve in the next five years as financial lenders become more willing to lend to smaller-scale businesses.

Nigeria is one of the 25 priority countries to become a part of the World Bank Group’s Universal Financial Access 2020 initiatives. The World Bank project aims to extend access to financial services to all adults by 2020. Moreover, many projects are joining hands to ensure that the rural dwellers get credit access, with programs being introduced to overhaul the obsolete land registration system and paving way for more credit options for rural farmers.

– Deena Zaidi

Photo: Flickr

poverty in nigeria
Poverty in Nigeria? Steady GDP growth, a thriving agricultural sector and a booming oil industry should be raising the quality of life of poor Nigerians. But, political instability and widespread corruption is undermining economic progress and widening the inequality gap. With a population of more than 165 million people, Nigeria has one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. Strong exports—including petroleum, cocoa and rubber—and increasing foreign investments have all contributed to the country’s growing GDP, which was 262 billion in 2012. The country’s GDP has grown by an average of 7% each year over the past decade.

Despite these promising figures, Nigeria remains one of the poorest countries in the world. In 2010, 69% of citizens were living below the national poverty line. Almost 100 million people currently live on less than $1 a day. There are many consequences of extreme poverty, many of which are crippling Nigeria today. These consequences include lack of access to basic services like healthcare, adequate nutrition, clean water, education and job opportunities. Access to healthcare is also a major problem in Nigeria. Poor healthcare has contributed to the country’s high infant mortality rate and the spread of preventable diseases. The infant mortality rate is 88.4 for every 1,000 live births and 142 children out of every 1,000 will die before the age of five.

The average Nigerian is only expected to live about 50 years. The life expectancy is low for many reasons, but a major contributor is the lack of access to sanitation facilities and clean drinking water. Only 42% of rural people have access to clean water and only 28% have access to proper sanitation facilities. Contaminated water sources and diseases spread by poor sanitation kill thousands of people each year.

Malnutrition is widespread in Nigeria and food shortages are common. Nationally, 41% of children have stunted growth and 23 percent are underweight. In rural areas, 44 percent of households cannot meet their family’s basic food needs. It is estimated that nearly 10 million children don’t attend school in Nigeria. This means that 42% of the school-going population is not enrolled in a school of any kind. Not attending school as a child limits job opportunities later in life and is one of the main reasons behind illiteracy. Only 61% of citizens are literate. The majority of illiterate individuals are women living in rural areas.

Unemployment is also an increasing concern and a major contributor to poverty in Nigeria. The unemployment rate was 24% in 2011, up from 21 percent in 2010. Unemployment has hit young people the hardest; about 38% of people aged 15 to 44 don’t have jobs.

But, poverty is especially severe in the rural areas. An estimated 80% of the country’s rural population lives below the poverty line. This means there are more than 50 million rural poor. Agriculture is the main source of income for 90 percent of the rural population. But a growing population and environmental issues put a great deal of pressure on these people. As resources diminish, food cultivation is being made even more difficult by land degradation, drought and erosion.

Across Nigeria, urban poverty is a major issue as well. More than 50% of citizens live in urban areas and six cities have populations of 1 million or more.  Approximately 70% of the urban population live in slums or rudimentary housing. Furthermore, migration from rural areas to urban areas is increasing, putting even more pressure on the weak infrastructure that exists in many Nigerian cities. There are many theories behind poverty in Nigeria, the majority of which are political. The country adopted civilian rule in 1999 and various religious and ethnic groups have been struggling to gain political influence ever since. Separatist groups like Al-Qaeda ally Boko Haram have caused widespread instability throughout the country, waging violent campaigns and terrorist attacks throughout the country. This instability only exacerbates poverty in the country even further.

Corruption, especially concerning the country’s oil industry, has significantly increased the economic inequality gap. Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil producer, yet few citizens have benefited from the trade. The majority of the money is divided between politicians and wealthy oil executives and fighting over control of oil fields is causing increasing instability in the Niger Delta.

Nigeria has the natural resources and foreign investments needed to raise the standard of living, but widespread instability and corruption is driving many people even further into poverty.

– Allison Johnson

Sources: John Hopkins, Rural Poverty Portal,UNICEF, Africa Economic Outlook, WHO, WHO, BBC 1, BBC 2, World Bank, Reuters
Photo: Business News