Essay on Poverty in Nigeria

901 Words4 Pages
Nigeria, with its prodigous oil and natural gas reserves, has the potential to be one of the most affluent places on the planet, were it not for the rampant corruption that defines it. Instead, it is the 20th poorest country in the world1. Much like the guanxi of China, Nigeria practices prebendalism—the use of high-level positions to gain personal wealth. In other words, people exchange money for political favors, which of course creates a greedy and corrupt society. The extent of this fraudulency is such that most of Nigeria's oil wealth is sucked up by one per cent of the population, while more than 60% falls below the poverty line. In fact, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has…show more content…
Today, that is equivalent to over 200 billion naira7--about 1.3 billion US dollars. Sebastian Junger, a journalist for Vanity Fair, blames Nigeria's economic can of worms on a “resource curse”--when underdeveloped countries with great natural wealth (Nigeria, Sierra Leone, etc.), fail to diversify their industry or to invest in education, leading to a long-term economic decline8. Such a lack of economic variety makes Nigeria very dependent on oil prices. Whenever they drop, Nigeria is plunged into indebtedness, because corrupt officials have used up all of Nigeria's surplus money. UNESCO's proposed solution, then, of variegating the economy and putting more emphasis on education (especially for females)9 makes sense. They also stressed to importance of creating “an enabling environment for businesses to thrive”10, because, as Maduagwu so beautifully put it, “money is a coward; it does not go where it is not safe”11. In the late 1900s, Nigeria was on the rise. Beginning in 1970, Nigeria enjoyed international leverage resulting from their oil wealth12. They joined OPEC, and eventually became the fifth-largest exporter of oil to the United States, and Nigeria only got more important as US conflicts in the Middle East grew13. However, in the 1980s, things took a turn for the worse. All of a sudden, due to a drop in world oil prices, Nigeria was in debt. They turned to international organizations for aid, and attempted to restructure and
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