Ahead of tomorrow’s visit, Theresa May says Nigeria is poverty capital of the world
THERESA May, Prime Minister of United Kingdom (UK), appears to be the first leader of a country to recognise Nigeria as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty.
As part of her three-day visit to Africa, May is expected to meet President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja before meeting victims of modern slavery in Lagos on the same day.
The Prime Minister, who arrived South Africa on Tuesday, said at Cape Town that Nigeria has the highest number of extremely poor people in the world.
“Much of Nigeria is thriving, with many individuals enjoying the fruits of a resurgent economy, yet 87 million Nigerians live below $1 and 90 cents a day, making it home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world,” according to the UK government website.
While there is no record of a head of government of any country recognising Nigeria as the world poverty capital, May might have relied on a disputed report for her comment.
Earlier in June, a report by Brookings Institute pointed out that Nigeria has overtaken India as a country that has the largest number of people living in extreme poverty. The report was written by Homi Kharas, Kristofer Hamel and Martin Hofer from the World Data Lab which keeps the World Poverty Clock.
The authors suggested that based on data from the World Poverty Clock that measures the progress of eradicating extreme poverty in all its forms by 2030, Nigeria has about 87 million people living in poverty as against 73 million of India. The population of India is more than five times that of Nigeria.
According to the World Poverty Clock, six Nigerians are pushed into extreme poverty every minute while Indian’s poverty rate continues to decrease.
But Nigeria disputed the report. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Trade and Investment, suggested the report might have used the data when Nigeria was in a recession to arrive at the conclusion.
If May knew about Nigeria’s objection to the Brookings Institute’s report, tomorrow’s meeting with President Buhari will be an opportunity for the country to correct her and make its position known to the world.