Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Where is the trickle down?

Nigeria is expected to announce that it is now the largest economy in Africa, surpassing South Africa. Nigeria is a booming market, and contains nearly one-fourth of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa. Its population is four times that of South Africa and its markets are more open to new investment than is South Africa.

Despite growing investment, the nation still is only meeting 20 percent of its current electrical power needs. Nigeria remains, to a considerable extent, a divided nation, of north and south, oil-producing states and non-oil producing states. Boko Haram and related groups remain a threat to its stability. According to the latest report by Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2013, Nigeria ranked 144th, out of 177 nations in the world.

Most troubling is the gap between rich and poor.  Despite its economic growth rate of about 7  per cent  over five years, Nigeria,  faces the failure of translating growth into poverty reduction and reduced social inequality. While there is purportedly a growing “middle class”, it is still dwarfed by the millions in poverty, living on less than $2 a day. The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said no fewer than 210, 000 Nigerians die of HIV/AIDS every year, saying Nigeria is the third largest population of people living with the disease in the World.

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