#10YearChallenge: Nigeria then and now

IF you have been on the internet in the last couple of weeks, you would have come across the #10YearChallenge on social media.

It’s a challenge which involves people posting up then-and-now pictures of themselves from 2009 and 2019, to show how much you’ve changed. Millions have taken part, including social media influencers such as  Joe Abah, former DG, Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR), Yemi Kale, Statistician-General, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), among others.

As for purpose of the challenge, it doesn’t really have one, other than it is just a bit of fun, or to remind us of our  look in the past.

However, in this 10-year challenge, The ICIR will do a flashback of 10 selected key national socio-economic parameters, showing where we were as a nation years back and where we are now. These parameters include; unemployment rate, ease of doing business, corruption perception index, global terrorism index, foreign direct investment, the percentage of debt service to the national budget, investment on education and health, poverty index, inflation rate and ranking of Nigerian universities among the top 1,000 universities in the world.

Unemployment rate

According to the 2011 Socio-Economic Report, put together by the NBS, unemployment rate as at 2009 was 19.7 percent. It increased to 21.1 percent in 2010 and 23.9 percent in 2011.


As of Q3 2018,  unemployment Rate in Nigeria has increased to 23.1 percent from 22.70 percent in the second quarter of 2018. Unemployment Rate in Nigeria averaged 12.31 percent from 2006 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 23.10 percent in the third quarter of 2018 and a record low of 5.10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. The total number of people classified as unemployed, which means they did nothing at all or worked too few hours (under 20 hours a week) to be classified as employed increased from 17.6 million in Q4 2017 to 20.9 million in Q3 2018.

Ease of Doing Business

Nigeria dropped by a spot in the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking for 2018, released by the global financial institution.

According to details of the report, of the 190 countries ranked by the World Bank, Nigeria ranked 146 in 2018, dropping by a spot from its 145th position in 2017. The report noted that Nigeria made starting a business easier by reducing the time needed to register a company at its corporate affairs commission and introducing an online platform to pay stamp duty.

In its 2009 report, of the 181 countries ranked, Nigeria ranked 118, this     a drop in four places (114) compared to its 2008 report.

Global Terrorism Index (GTI)

Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), an independent body dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human well-being and progress in its latest report     Global Terrorism Index 2018: Measuring the impact of terrorism, ranks Nigeria number three out of 163 countries as being most terrorised. In other words, Nigeria is the third most terrorised country in the world after Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 2018 GTI report is the sixth edition of such report, so The ICIR could not lay hand on the 2008 report. However, to improvise, The ICIR will use the Global Peace Index (GPI), another report published by the same Institute for Economics & Peace is a report that ranks about ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness.

The GPI which is the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness measured the state of peace using three thematic domains: the level of societal safety and security; the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict; and the degree of militarisation.

Nigeria ranks 148 out of 163 countries in the world peace ranking according to its report in 2018. Compared to its 2008 ranking, Nigeria ranked 129 out of 140 countries it ranked then.

Corruption Perception Index (CPI)

The report of the Transparency International in 2017 revealed that perception of corruption in Nigeria worsened between 2016 and 2017

Nigeria ranked 148 out of 180 countries assessed in 2017 on the perception of corruption, the index, showed that out of 100 points signaling maximum transparency and no corruption, Nigeria scored 27 points.

The 2007 report was almost the same as that of the 2017 report. In 2007 CPI, Nigeria ranked 147 out of 180 countries. It scores countries on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating high levels of perceived corruption and ten indicating low levels of perceived corruption, Nigeria scored 2.2 points.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment made by a firm or individual in one country into business interests located in another country. Generally, FDI takes place when an investor establishes foreign business operations or acquires foreign business assets, including establishing ownership or controlling interest in a foreign company.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), a focal point in the United Nations System for investment and enterprise development in its report, World Investment Report 2018: Investment and New Industrial Policies, put FDI of Nigeria at $3.5 billion. The report noted that the figure fell by 21 percent compared to what the FDI was in 2016 ($4.4 billion).

The 2008 report revealed that Nigeria had the highest  FDI inflow in Sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that Nigeria alongside South-Africa and Egypt both had inflows of above $3 billion.

Percentage of Debt servicing to the National Budget

Debt service is the cash that is required to cover the repayment of interest and principal on a debt for a particular period.

In 2009, the federal government earmarked N284 billion to service debt. This represented 9.3 percent of the total national budget of N3.049 trillion. The  N8.82 trillion 2019 budget proposal submitted to the national assembly for consideration and passage by the president has about N2.26 trillion to service debt. If passed, this indicates that 25.6% of the national budget would be used to service debt.

Investment in Education and Health

Investment in Education and Health has been recognised as one factor that is responsible for good human capital development and is considered an important determinant of economic growth.

A global study on countries’ investments in health care and education carried out by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), United States, ranked Nigeria 171 out of 195 countries sampled.

Going by budgetary allocation, Nigeria has continued to be defaulters to international agreements it entered into especially in the health and education sector.

For education, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO recommended 15 percent to 20 percent as the international benchmark for education funding. However, for both 2009 and proposed 2019 budget, the federal government has never gone beyond seven percent education funding. It was 7.4 percent in 2009 and now 7.02 percent in the proposed 2019 budget.

For health, eighteen years ago, Nigeria and other member-state of the African Union agreed to allocate 15 percent of their annual budget to the health sector, Nigeria has continued to be a serial defaulter of this agreement. The ICIR had earlier reported this.

In 2009, N154.6 billion was approved for the ministry of health, a percentage of 5.1 percent of the total budget, while in the 2019 proposed budget, if passed, the federal government earmarked N365.7 billion representing just 4.1 percent of the national budget as against 15 percent recommended by the ‘Abuja Declaration’.

Poverty Index

A report by The World Poverty Clock shows Nigeria overtook India as the country with the most extreme poor people in the world in 2018. India has a population seven times larger than Nigeria’s. As of 20 January,  91 million Nigerians now living in extreme poverty represents nearly 46.4 percent of its estimated 195 million population.

In 2009, according to the Nigeria Poverty Profile Report 2010, a report which emerged from the  Harmonised Nigeria Living Standard Survey (HNLSS) conducted by the NBS with support from the World Bank, DFID (UK) and UNICEF pegged absolute poverty at 62.6 percent.

Inflation rate



    Inflation which indicates the rate at which the average price level of a basket of selected goods and services in an economy increases over a period of time. According to NBS, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measured inflation increased to 11.44 percent (year-on-year) in December 2018 from 11.28 percent recorded in November 2018. In 2009, the inflation rate of the country was 13.9 percent as at the last quarter of the year.

    Nigerian Universities rating among top 1,000 universities in the world

    According to the webometric ranking of universities in 2018, it shows that no Nigerian university is ranked among the top 1,000 universities in the world. Only the University of Ibadan ranked 1,076 few numbers away from 1,000 and only 10 Nigerian universities made the top 100 universities in Africa. The Universities are, University of Ibadan-12th; University of Nigeria-37th; Obafemi Awolowo University-39th; Covenant University-42th; Ahmadu Bello University-61st; University of Lagos-62nd; University of Ilorin-67th; University of Port-Harcourt-71st; Federal University of Technology, Minna-78th and Federal University of Technology, Akure-79th.

    In 2008, no Nigerian university made the top 5,000 not to talk of the top 1,000. Only two Nigerian universities made the top 100 in Africa. They are; the Obafemi Awolowo University and the University of Ibadan.



    Head of Data Unit, International Centre For Investigative Reporting, ICIR.
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    1. Your ten year challenge paints a lack of progress in our country: you should have started from the basics: infrastructure. Where was Nigeria 10 years ago? Where are we today?
      What was Nigeria’s revenue 10 years ago? What is it now?

      What was our population in 2009 and what do we have now?

      How many graduates did we produce in 2009? How many are we churning out now?

      You need to really paint a complete picture of where we were then and now to understand the humongous problems we face as a nation.


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