Poverty Receding in India worsens in Nigeria


India, one of the world’s most populous countries, has lifted more than 415 million people out of poverty in the last 15 years. What is going on in a country that is 7,000 kilometres away from Nigeria shows how Africa’s biggest economy can achieve an ambitious goal of lifting 100 million people out of poverty within a decade.

Nigeria is home to huge oil and gas resources, whose exports account for more than half of the government’s revenue, yet the country has at least 133 million people living in poverty.

We evaluated on how India’s economy evolved and how it was possible to reduce poverty through strict policy reforms, especially by developing a robust manufacturing and industrial system.

Findings showed India’s economic transformation is kicking into high gear as the government is spending nearly 20 percent of its budget this fiscal year on capital investments, the most in at least a decade.

In its 2023 economic plan, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he is ready to move the country, once synonymous with red tape, to a $10 trillion economy.

“India is on the cusp of huge change,” said Nandan Nilekani, a founder of Infosys Ltd., one of the nation’s largest technology services companies.

“India has quickly created capacity to support tens of thousands of startups, a few billion smartphones and data rates that rank among the lowest in the world,” he said.

According to Morgan Stanley, India will drive a fifth of global growth in this decade, making it one of just three countries capable of generating annual production growth of more than $400 billion.

In addition, India’s proactive leadership has been praised by global leaders. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership in a divided world and said India is a bright spot amid the global crisis.

This comes amid the report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicating that India is better off than many global economies. The IMF expects the country’s growth rate to be 6.8 percent for the current fiscal year.

Another report from the United Nations Development Programme showed that more than 400 million people were lifted out of poverty in India between 2005-06 and 2019-21.

“India is an important case study for the Sustainable Development Goals, the first of which is to end poverty in all its forms and to reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions by 2030, all while leaving no one behind,” the report added.

The developments in India contrast with the situation in Africa’s most populous nation, where more than 60 percent of the population are struggling with multidimensional poverty, according to Nigeria’s statistical agency.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in his Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2019, set a 10-year target for Nigeria to lift at least 100 million people out of poverty.

“This task is by no means unattainable. China has done it. India has done it. Indonesia has done it. Nigeria can do it,” Buhari said in a 2019 nationwide broadcast.

There are views that the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) such as TraderMoni scheme and N-Power are not enough to reduce the poverty level in the country.

“This TraderMoni that we have been doing, how many people has it lifted out of poverty? It has not been able to combat poverty. How are we sure that the people who are given this money really need it? Or maybe some of them have exhausted it by only feeding themselves,” Maduka Maxwell, an investment administrator at ARM Holding Company, said.

“Right now inflation has eroded the value of the naira such that N10,000 is nothing. Assuming you give that N10,000 to a market woman selling tomatoes at Yaba and she gets them from Mile 12, she will spend out of that money for transportation and logistics,” Maduka said.

According to findings by BuisnessDay, showed Nigerians are spending three times more on what they buy today than the usual consumption basket they could afford three years ago, thanks to inflation and record-high unemployment.

The misery index, which is an indicator used to determine how economically well off the citizens of a country are, hit 55.2 percent in February 2023, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The situation has been worsened by the persistent naira scarcity induced by the currency redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as well as the surge in energy costs that has further reduced consumers’ disposable income.

“It has been a very difficult year with the persistent naira and fuel scarcity. We have to pay to get the naira we need for transactions,” Rosemary Adewumi, a mother of three who was at Mile 12 market to make purchases, says.