Four people fall into poverty every minute as Nigeria set to miss SDGs — Report

• 96m citizens living in abject poverty

With almost four persons falling into extreme poverty every minute, Nigeria is set to miss the first two points of the 17-point Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) according to the Poverty Clock of the World Data Lab.

The first objective of SDGs, launched in 2015 by the United Nations with a 15-year target period is to eliminate extreme poverty while the second is to eliminate hunger.

In a new report released at the weekend titled: “To move the needle on ending extreme poverty, focus on rural areas”, the Brookings Institution quoting the World Poverty Clock’s projections noted.

“Rural poverty is expected to decline by 100 million (or 26 per cent) from 395 million to 293 million over the next decade, largely due to economic growth and rural-urban migration that is reducing the absolute size of the rural population in many countries.

“Rural poverty is largely an African phenomenon. Seven out of 10 countries with the most people living in poverty in rural areas are in sub-Saharan Africa.”

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“If current trends continue and significant actions are not taken, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) may not make any gains in reducing rural poverty over the next decade.”

Of the current population estimate of 201.6 million, 95.9 or 48 per cent are living in extreme poverty.

For instance, the SDGs’ target was to remove 0.3 Nigerians from poverty every second, 3.9 people are rather falling into extreme poverty with the implication that over four million more Nigerians will fall into extreme poverty in the next 10 years.

The institution warned that unless major actions are taken, projections indicate that rural poverty in Nigeria would increase by nearly 4 million people (7 per cent) over the next 10 years.

“While we have previously reported Nigeria to be the country with the highest poverty numbers in the world, it is also one of the few places where poverty numbers are actually growing.

“Indeed, Nigeria tops the lists in terms of poverty numbers in both rural and urban areas.”

It observed that there remain methodological issues in refining numbers for rural and urban poverty and some assumptions need to be made to derive order-of-magnitude estimates.

“But without such data, national governments, as well as international organisations like the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), are flying blind.

“We believe that they now can tailor their poverty reduction strategies and investments to take into account rural and urban differences, and can start to benchmark data against which to monitor progress.

“We believe that although the policy instruments for reducing poverty may differ in urban and rural areas, there are commonalities that link the two agendas.

“Stronger integration and connectivity between rural and urban markets can reduce migration flows to cities and improve income levels in rural areas.

“They can improve food and nutrition security and build resilience to climate shocks.

“Commodity supply chains and integrated food systems need to be developed, complemented with a broader view of spatial development and targeting of public interventions to specific areas that are being left furthest behind.”

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