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Nigeria Rated Poorest Country Despite Oil Earnings

Lagos street view

Nigeria was recently rated the poorest country in the world, ahead of India, and that’s despite several hundred billion dollars in oil earnings over the last decade, a transparency group has said.

The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, as quoted by local media, said Nigeria had earned some US$484 billion from oil in the last 10 years, but the state of its population and infrastructure has only deteriorated. According to the organization, the oil earnings were sufficient to meet the need for an annual US$15-billion investment in infrastructure for the next 33 years, but the funds were not used to do that.

Meanwhile, in its latest report on poverty, the Brookings Institution estimated that the number of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria had grown to 87 million people, versus 73 million in India. According to Brookings, poverty in India is falling while in Nigeria, it’s growing at a rate of six people per minute. What’s more, India’s total population is above 1 billion while Nigeria’s is 198 million, meaning those living in extreme poverty are a much higher portion of the population in the oil-rich state.

Lower GDP is one of the factors accounting for the growing poverty despite substantial oil revenues. Nigeria was hard hit by the 2014 oil price collapse and its economic growth slowed from 6.3 percent in that year to 1.9 percent for the first quarter of 2018, Vanguard reports. What’s more, the daily notes, what money has been borrowed to spend on infrastructure in a bid to restart the economy after the price collapse has been very far from sufficient to achieve this goal.

Nigeria is also plagued by very high crime rates that are certainly not helping matters, and neither is the displacement of people from the countryside to the cities. In the oil heartland of the country—the Niger Delta, which is also home to some of Nigeria’s poorest communities, militant attacks on pipelines, and oil theft—had also played a role in aggravating an already bad situation.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Permanent Peace on July 17 2018 said:
    Nigeria should work with the UN to promote One World under One Set of Laws. International law should have a direct effect on the rights and obligations of the people; and the laws of all nations and thousands of systems should be incorporated into domestic law. People can use them as needed to end external and civil unrest and build a lasting order of human security and development. See the Charter for Permanent Peace for details.
  • William Mitchell on July 05 2018 said:
    Poorest country on the planet? At the same time, Nigeria the richest country in sub-Saharan Africa.

    This has all the earmarks of a statistic that has been created to suit an agenda. If one is judging by the country with the greatest number of people living in extreme poverty, countries with larger populations will tend to rise to the top of a list like that.

    Wouldn't a measure based on percentage of people in extreme poverty be more valid?

    I've lived in Nigeria. No doubt, there's a lot of heart-breaking poverty there. And a lot of corruption. Criticisms about those factors in Nigeria are perfectly valid. But let's not make it seem worse than it truly is with some phony-baloney statistic.

    I first lived there in 2006. In more recent trips back, the growth of the middle class, with the things that go with it like automobiles, paved roads, and homes with running water and electricity, has been something one can see with one's own eyes.
  • Kola ade on July 04 2018 said:
    It's unfortunate that people are concentrating on corruption in Nigeria and saying it's what is stemming growth. A country of 198 million people with annual revenue of $50billion is poor regardless of corruption. Corruption is just the effect of unavailable opportunities , please how far can $50billion go for 198million people? To pay salaries for almost 100million able bodies will require annual revenue of over $150 billion , even if every cent of the annual revenue is spent wisely, the country will still be poor or will still be grossly inadequate. Money is stolen in Nigeria but the money stolen if put back in the economy will not even be enough to feed 2million people. Nigeria needs to shed her population or find more ways to increase revenue.
  • Magen David on July 04 2018 said:
    Irina, great work shedding light on an unfortunate situation in Nigeria. However you did not address the #1 plague in Nigeria - Monumental and legendary corruption at every level of Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. Future more with an extreme poverty ratio of less than 10 percent, India should not even be ranking so close to Nigeria where the same metric is 40-50% for extreme poverty. If you consider poverty without the 'extreme qualification ". I can assure you that number is around 60-70% in Nigeria. Thanks again for shedding light on an extremely shameful and distasteful situation in Nigeria.

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