Street scene in Sokoto, Nigeria

Social situation Pervasive poverty and corruption

Even though the Nigerian government generates high revenues from the raw materials industry and has undertaken its first economic policy reforms, it has so far not been able to achieve tangible improvements for the people.

More than half of the people live in extreme poverty. At just 53 years, average life expectancy is one of the lowest in the world.

The health and nutrition status of many people is extremely poor, with problems beginning right at birth. According to World Bank data, one in ten children dies before the age of five.

Only about one fifth of the population has access to safe drinking water. The majority of the people have no adequate sanitation. Merely about 60 per cent of the people are connected to the power grid. The illiteracy rate is estimated to be around 40 per cent.

Nigeria's wealth of oil only benefits a small elite. Cronyism and corruption are part of everyday life. On Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2019, Nigeria is ranked 146th out of 180 countries evaluated.

Rapid population growth

Nigeria's population is currently growing at a rate of 2.6 per cent, or about five million people a year. Over the last 30 years, it has more than doubled, from 88 million in 1987 to about 191 million in 2017. The United Nations expects that it will double again by the middle of this century, reaching a total of 400 million.

In view of this high level of population growth, the economic growth of the past few years was far too low to facilitate sustained progress on development. The young generation, whose numbers are constantly growing, has very little prospect of reliable jobs, housing or basic social protection. Youth unemployment is high, especially in rural areas.