Nigeria’s economic growth rate averaged over six percentage points in the last decade but surprisingly has not translated into reduction in poverty and unemployment. This decade of growth with poverty and jobless growth has led to a further widening of the level of inequality while also reducing the standards of living of the people.
In 2012, Nigeria’s HDI rank was 153 out of the total 185 countries, which places it at the low human development category (bottom category) with an Index of 0.471 and a life expectancy of only 52.3 years. The poverty incidence has deteriorated further between the period 2004 and 2010 based on the latest poverty survey, such that the population in poverty increased from 68.7 million to 112.47 million in 2010. Similarly, the income inequality moved from 0.429 in 2004 to 0.447 in 2010 while the overall loss in Human Development Index due to inequality in 2012 was 41.4%.
The key challenge is therefore how to ensure that through inclusive planning and plan-led efficient resource allocation, the economic growth rates easily manifest in low levels of poverty and higher employment rates (especially for youths). Tangential to this, is the need to address the sluggish commitment to HIV/AIDS, pursue diversification of the growth base from oil to non-oil (especially the agricultural sector) while ensuring that small enterprises (businesses and farmers) have the necessary skills and facilities to create value and generate income.
UNDP Nigeria's approach in poverty reduction is deeply rooted in an inclusive sustainable framework that focuses on both the institutions and the people. In partnership with the national and State governments, upstream strategic interventions have been designed to correct governance and institutional weakness and therefore provide the enabling framework for the downstream people- centred activities.
UNDP’s support efforts aimed at targeting poverty through evidence based planning across sectors and tiers of government that is organically linked to resource allocation and strategic fiscal management. There are also efforts to facilitate pro-poor value chain development in the Agricultural Sector and to widen the value added of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by addressing challenges relating to access to finance and energy. In partnership with government and other key stakeholders, UNDP aims at addressing the challenges of governance with respect to HIV/AIDS especially issues of ownership and sustainability and also the institutional challenges related to the management and harmonization of donor assistance. Efforts also address the youth employment challenge through an institutionalized skills acquisition programme.