As is well known, Nigeria’s blessed with numerous natural resources: we’re currently the largest economy in Africa, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) predicted to hit $574 billion in 2023 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, despite this, Nigeria’s unemployment rate is at a frightening 33.3%, and about 133 million Nigerians live in multidimensional poverty.
In this article, we will look at the states with the highest poverty level in the country.
Sokoto has the largest population of poor people in Nigeria, with a poverty level of 87.73% and at least 4.38 million Nigerians living below the poverty line. Although this state is one of the largest producers of onions and tomatoes, the numerous abandoned road projects frustrate distribution.
Located in the North East of Nigeria, this tropical state has a poverty level of 87.72%. The primary occupation prevalent here is agriculture with a focus on commercial farming. Given its low GDP, the state struggles to fund education or infrastructure, which has affected its economic development.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Jigawa is one of the most populated states in the country, but it’s at a poverty level of 87.2%. Given its semi-arid climate, residents rely heavily on agriculture. To encourage its economic growth, the federal government approved the construction of the Kurnya-Babura road at the border shared with the Republic of Niger. But it’s not giving, yet.
With a poverty level of 79.76%, Ebonyi is the only state in the South East in the top five list of Nigeria’s poorest states.
Created 26 years ago in 1996 by General Sanni Abacha, Ebonyi state is one of Nigeria’s leading rice producer.
Adamawa is one of the most affected by the Boko Haram terrorist group, thus not surprising that it’s at a poverty level of 75.41%. Asides from the disruption of economic activity, farmers also struggle to deal with droughts, pests and floods, which result in poor harvests.
Zamfara has a poverty rate of 73.98, yet another state in the North that has had to deal with insecurity. Many of its residents have sought shelter in other places, slowing down economic growth.
The poverty level in Yobe State is 72.34%; it is also one of the states with the lowest GDP in the country. Although Yobe is one of the largest livestock producers, the Boko Haram insurgency has caused loss of lives, infrastructure and the displacement of people. There is also a low literacy rate and access to healthcare, all of which have contributed to its poor economic development and growth.
As we can see, common factors responsible for the poverty level in these states are insecurity, lack of education, and poor infrastructure. And sadly, the World Bank is predicting this situation to worsen by 2025.
By May 29, 2023, a new administration will take over the helms of affairs, and it’s clear that a lot of work is already cut out for them.