Huge Gender Gap,Worsening Poverty Still Troubling Nigeria-ADB Report



map of NigeriaBy Danlami Nmodu
Africa Economic Outlook ,AEO released by the Africa Development Bank has confirmed fears of critics who said official reports on high growth rates do not reflect the deepening poverty in Nigeria.
The report says “Nigeria still ranks low in the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI), with a score of 0.471 in the 2013 UN Human Development Report (values are from 0 to 1).
“The 2010 MDGs report (the latest available) suggests that overall Nigeria continues to progress toward attainment of the MDGs, albeit slowly and unevenly.
On the issue of poverty reduction, the report said “The growth has neither generated employment nor translated into poverty reduction nor addressed inequality in Nigeria.
“Nigeria’s prospects of halving poverty by 2015 seem weak. The proportion of people living below the national poverty line has worsened from 65.5% in 1996 to 69.0% in 2010. Poverty is higher in rural areas (73.2 %) than in urban areas (61.8%). Inequality, as measured by the Gini Coefficient, also rose from 0.429 in 2004 to 0.447 in 2010. Rates of poverty vary significantly between urban and rural citizens and among the geopolitical zones. A full 66% of the rural population lives below the poverty line of USD 1 per day.
The report also highlights the huge gender gap in Nigeria.“The disparities in gender are significant. The country is ranked 79 out of 86 in the OECD’s 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index and 120 out of 135 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2011 Global Gender Gap Index. Gender gaps are notable in access to education, as well as political representation. Although school participation has been improving at primary level, the proportion of girls enrolled is still lower than boys across all levels of education, with the ratio decreasing at tertiary levels. Despite the fact that the Gender Parity Index (GPI) for the five year period 2005/06 to 2009/10 favours boys, there is consistent progress toward gender parity: 0.87 in 2010, up from 0.83 in 2006.
Read excerpts of the Report below:
Social Context & Human Development
Building Human Resources
Nigeria still ranks low in the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI), with a score of 0.471 in the 2013 UN Human Development Report (values are from 0 to 1).
The 2010 MDGs report (the latest available) suggests that overall Nigeria continues to progress toward attainment of the MDGs, albeit slowly and unevenly.
Nigeria’s MDG target for education is universal primary education and gender equality at primary and secondary levels. A major development in education is the implementation of Universal Basic Education Programme. As a result, primary school enrolment rose from 80% in 2004 to 89% in 2005. Completion rate, however, is only at 68%. The challenge then is that there are a lot of out-of-school children in Nigeria. According to the Ministry of Education, Nigeria has over 10 million out-of-school children, or 42% of the school-going population. Substantial additional efforts are required to reach the 100% goal by 2015.
With respect to health, significant progress has been made over the last decade, but the MDG targets will nevertheless be hard to attain. The infant mortality rate moderated to 75 per thousand live births in 2008 from 110 per thousand in 2007, and much higher in previous years. Maternal mortality (goal 5) was down to 545 per one hundred thousand births in 2008 from 800 per one hundred thousand live births, with striking regional geopolitical differentials. For example, the North East zone recorded a Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of 1 545 per one hundred thousand, while the South West zone recorded an MMR as low as 165 per one hundred thousand. The government has recently launched the UN MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) for MDG 5, offering a new and urgent way to rise to the challenge of accelerating progress with MMR. It draws attention to prioritised intervention, identifying and removing bottlenecks that impede the implementation of action plans.
The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria declined from 5.8% in 2001 to 4.6% in 2008 and to 4.1% in 2010.11 However, there is a wide variation of prevalence in the country, with the highest concentration in the North Central zone (7.5%) and the lowest concentration in the North Western zone (2.1%). The trend signals a general reversal of the epidemic in Nigeria. The MDG report asserts that the target of “halting and beginning to reverse” the spread of HIV/AIDS is already met.
Key challenges affecting human development and progress towards the MDGs include limited institutional capacities. Data continues to pose a huge challenge in measuring not only overall progress but also specific goals. Intergovernmental co-ordination of efforts both vertical and horizontal is still weak, just as public sector investment continues to be fraught with leakages and declining efficiency and effectiveness. Private sector investment in MDGs and human development is generally low and unevenly spread across the country.
Poverty Reduction, Social Protection & Labour
Nigeria is a resource-rich country and a fast-growing economy. Despite the huge recent macro gains of over 7% per annum over the past decade, the country is also among the poorest nations in the world, with per capita GDP of USD 1414 (2011). The growth has neither generated employment nor translated into poverty reduction nor addressed inequality in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s prospects of halving poverty by 2015 seem weak. The proportion of people living below the national poverty line has worsened from 65.5% in 1996 to 69.0% in 2010. Poverty is higher in rural areas (73.2 %) than in urban areas (61.8%). Inequality, as measured by the Gini Coefficient, also rose from 0.429 in 2004 to 0.447 in 2010. Rates of poverty vary significantly between urban and rural citizens and among the geopolitical zones. A full 66% of the rural population lives below the poverty line of USD 1 per day.
Malnutrition is widespread. Rural areas and disadvantaged groups are particularly vulnerable to chronic food shortages and unbalanced nutrition. Nationally, 41% of Nigerian children are stunted, 9% wasted or thin and 23% underweight (National Health and Demographic Survey 2008).
The 2011 unemployment rate was 24%, compared to 21% in 2010. The unemployment rate is highest for the 15 to 24 and 25 to 44 age groups (38% and 22 % respectively). An average of 1.8 million people have entered the labour market every year over the past five years. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) projects the number of new entrants will grow annually from 3 million in 2012 to about 8.5 million in 2015.12
Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, is an urgent policy priority. Several agencies and plans have been established to tackle poverty and unemployment. These include the National Directorate of Employment, the National Poverty Eradication programme, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, microcredit and entrepreneurship development plans and, more recently, the job creation committee.
The Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) is a major tool for driving rural income growth, accelerating the achievement of food and nutritional security, generating employment and transforming the economy into a leading player in the global food market. On 14 May 2012, the president inaugurated the Agriculture Transformation Implementation Council (ATIC), with the mandate of driving the ATA. The target is to create about 3.5 million new jobs from rice, cassava, sorghum, cocoa and cotton value chains, with many more jobs from other future value chain activities. It is also anticipated that farmers and other rural entrepreneurs might earn over NGN 300 billion in additional income from value chain activities, helping to reduce poverty.
Social protection is a priority in Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020 plan. However, it is yet to have a comprehensive policy and budget support. Social protection policy has been on the agenda for some time. Several actors are involved in funding and ensuring social welfare, mainly civil society groups with programmes supporting orphans, widows, and people living with HIV/AIDS. In recent years the federal government has initiated three social protection initiatives: conditional cash transfers targeted at households with specific social characteristics, health fee waivers for pregnant women and children under five and community-based health insurance plans (redesigned in 2011).
Gender Equality
The disparities in gender are significant. The country is ranked 79 out of 86 in the OECD’s 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index and 120 out of 135 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2011 Global Gender Gap Index. Gender gaps are notable in access to education, as well as political representation. Although school participation has been improving at primary level, the proportion of girls enrolled is still lower than boys across all levels of education, with the ratio decreasing at tertiary levels. Despite the fact that the Gender Parity Index (GPI) for the five year period 2005/06 to 2009/10 favours boys, there is consistent progress toward gender parity: 0.87 in 2010, up from 0.83 in 2006.
Women’s representation in political decision making saw remarkable progress in 2009 but reversed in the 2011 elections. However, in the federal cabinet the president appointed 13 female members, constituting 31% of the 42 member entity. Women also constitute 11.8% of the 17 members of the supreme court. Across the country women constitute 30.0% of high-court judges. Nevertheless, the government recognises that much more remains to be done.

Source:  Africa Economic Outlook

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