The World Bank has released new poverty lines as it defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than $1.90 a day, estimating that 10.7% of the world’s population, or about 760 million people, face this reality.
It specifically noted that that number of people living in extreme poverty fell to 760 million people worldwide, down from 1.9 billion in 1990.
However, with the new benchmark for poverty in Nigeria set at $3.2 a day, more Nigerians would gravitate below the poverty line.
In an attempt to be more precise with its classifications, the organization recently added new standards of poverty for people living in middle- and high-income countries, which are the first additions since the poverty line was initially set in 1990, then at $1 a day.
The new standards are set at $3.20 a day for people in “lower-middle-income” countries, such as Nigeria, Egypt or India, and $5.50 a day for “upper-middle-income” countries, such as Jamaica or South Africa.
The World Bank also released a third standard for high-income countries, like the US, at $21.70 a day.
The report, which placed Nigeria as a lower middle-income country, indicates that millions of the extremely poor live in the world’s low-income countries, but well over half of the extremely poor live in middle-income countries like India, Nigeria and China.
The new classification means that benchmark for poverty in Nigeria is living on less than $3.2 per day, which would push the number of Nigerians under the poverty line to about 90 percent, said an analyst who spoke to businessamlive.
With the new benchmark No fewer than 112million Nigerians now live below poverty level as global poor hits one billion mark. According to the latest poverty report by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, about 112 million Nigerians (representing 67.1 per cent) of the country’s total population of 167million.
And another point to consider is that one can have more than $1.90 a day to spend on the basic necessities and still live in relative poverty.
As the World Bank puts it in a poverty FAQ: “Not surprisingly, richer countries tend to have higher poverty lines, while poorer countries have lower poverty lines.”
That’s why the World Bank has come up with two new “poverty line” figures for the world’s middle-income countries: $3.20 a day for lower middle income nations (like Nigeria Egypt, India and the Philippines) and $5.50 a day for upper middle income nations (like Brazil, Jamaica and South Africa).
Despite its vast oil riches and impressive economic growth, Nigeria has struggled to lift its people out of poverty over the past three decades.
That fact stands out in the World Bank’s 2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals, which shows that 35 million more Nigerians were living in extreme poverty in 2013 than in 1990. The Atlas tracks the progress countries are making to meet 17 development goals set out by the United Nations, such as reducing economic inequality, the use of clean energy, and literacy rates.
Among the 10 most populous countries for which data is available, only Nigeria recorded an increase in the number of citizens who live in extreme poverty over the period of the study. The Atlas defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than $1.90 a day.
While the ballooning number can be linked to a population surge in Nigeria (the country grew from 96 to 174 million people between 1990 and 2013), this doesn’t fully account for the persistence of extreme poverty in the country.
All 10 of the biggest countries in the World Bank’s report also registered population increases over that period, barring Russia. Nigeria’s 81 percent population increase was dwarfed by Ethiopia, which saw a 96 percent increase over the same period.
Nigeria’s progress has been significantly impeded by its inability to distribute the country’s immense oil wealth to citizens. This is corroborated by a recent report from the Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank, which measured “prosperity delivery” to citizens in comparison to a country’s actual wealth.
Of the 38 countries covered by the research, Nigeria ranked 26th, with the report saying it was “under-delivering” prosperity to its citizens.
Corruption and incompetence have been fingered as cause of the woes of Nigerians.