It is difficult to answer questions about how Nigeria can and should achieve sustainable economic, social and political growth. This column takes a look at well known development economic theories and applies them to the unique Nigerian context.


Nigeria is in multidimensional poverty

Martha Sambe

Martha Sambe

Martha is a graduate of Development Economics and International Cooperation. She enjoys researching topics in development, sociology, and religion.

Nigerians were collectively triggered by a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report that 98 million of us are living in multidimensional poverty.

The number was not alarming—after all, Nigeria is barely a year into its reign as the poverty capital of the world, but the reference to multidimensional poverty sparked fright. Had Nigeria cracked a new layer of poverty?


Understanding multidimensional poverty

For a long time, poverty was defined in monetary terms: people were considered poor if they lived on less than a specific (dollar) amount a day. But while income and wealth are pretty good indicators of welfare, it has become apparent that we miss out a lot of relevant features of human welfare if we only focus on how much money someone has.

For instance, a household could be living on more than a dollar a day but still be unable to meet primary healthcare or sanitation needs. These and other factors are not adequately captured by the monetary-based measures of poverty, even though they are also important indicators of human welfare. Thus, the methods now collectively referred to as the non-monetary measurements of poverty were developed to assess the indicators that would otherwise be overlooked by the monetary-based methods. 

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