POVERTY AND INEQUALITY: THE CHALLENGES TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
Rasaki Stephen Dauda1* & Olusola Joel Oyeleke1
1Department of Economics, Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State
Nigeria is positioned 160th out of 205 countries in the 2020 sustainable development index, having scored 49.28. The nation ranked 159th out of 185 countries surveyed in 2019. Several factors are responsible for such poor performance. However, the role of poverty and inequality cannot be explained away. High poverty and inequality in their various forms constitute drags on sustainable development because development has always been a problem in an unequal and poverty-driven society. This study examines poverty and inequality as major challenges to the attainment of sustainable development in Nigeria, using stylized facts and review of related literature. It argues that the current state of poverty and inequality in Nigeria is capable of preventing sustainable development. It is therefore recommended that reducing poverty and various forms of inequalities through the appropriate policy measures will enhance sustainable development in the country. Such policies should include investment in health and education, with priority given to the girl-child education. There should be genuine commitment to fighting corruption in the public and private sectors. The economy should be diversified away from primary-product dominated one to industrial and services economy. Women should also be given free chance to participate in politics and labour market while the practice of street begging (almajiri) by children and young persons in certain part of the country should be prohibited.
Keywords: Poverty, Inequality, Sustainable Development, Nigeria