Youth employment, remedy to Nigeria’s rising inequality

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Despite the sustained increase in global wealth over the past two decades, inequality persists as per capita wealth declined or stagnated in most low-income countries across various income brackets.

Economic disparity is a global reality. According to United Kingdom-based Oxfam International, the 26 richest people on earth in 2018 had the same net worth as the poorest half of the world’s population, some 3.8 billion.

The issue is prevalent in low-income and emerging economy like Nigeria where less than 8 percent of the populace, the few rich, controls the bulk of the country’s resources.

Economic inequality in Nigeria has reached extreme level despite the country’s abundant human capital that could lift millions out of poverty. Last year, Nigeria ranked 157 out of 157 nations, in Oxfam Reducing Inequality Index, reflecting government’s weak commitment to reduce the gap between the rich and poor.

The country’s unemployment figure of 23.1 percent is the 10th highest in the world, according to Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Sadly, youth unemployment rate (15-34 years) of 29.72 percent outpaces the general unemployment figure, an indication that unemployed individuals in Nigeria comprise mostly the youth.

In a bid to ascertain the causes and proffer solutions to high-income inequality and mass unemployment in low-income and emerging economies, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) conducted a research across 71 low-income countries and discovered that the solution to inequality lies in youth employment.

“We look at the impact of good and bad economic times on inequality through unemployment, access to finance and government spending. We found that in low-income and emerging market countries, unemployment, especially among young people, is an important driver of inequality,” said analysts at IMF in their policy document.

In good times, which signifies periods when a country has positive output … Read More...