Bloomberg News

Nigerian Poverty Climbs as Economy Fails to Create More Jobs

February 14, 2012

(Updates with comment from official in fourth paragraph.)

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Poverty in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, rose in the seven years through 2010 as faster economic growth failed to create enough jobs.

The number of Nigerians living on less than 1 dollar a day rose to 61.2 percent in 2010 from 51.6 percent in 2004, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement released in the capital, Abuja, today.

Nigeria’s economy, the second-largest in sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa, expanded an average 7.3 percent a year between 2004 and 2010, according to the International Monetary Fund. The unemployment rate increased to 23.9 percent in 2011 from 19.7 percent in 2009, government data shows.

The fastest-growing industries in Nigeria -- wholesale, retail trade and oil and gas -- “are not significant employers of labor,” Yemi Kale, the agency’s statistician-general told reporters today. Poverty may worsen in 2011, the statistics office said in the statement.

Boosting agriculture, which the central bank estimates accounts for 42 percent of gross domestic product, may help to ease poverty, said Kale.

About 61 percent of Nigerians lived in absolute poverty in 2010, leaving them without the means to provide the bare essentials of food, clothing and shelter, according to the statistics agency. That’s up from 54.7 percent in 2004.

Nigeria is the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports. The country produced about 2.1 million barrels a day in January, unchanged from the previous year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About 90 percent of Nigeria’s crude is pumped by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Total SA and Eni SpA in joint ventures with state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.

--Editors: Nasreen Seria, Karl Maier

To contact the reporter on this story: Maram Mazen in Abuja at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at

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