• Friday, July 12, 2024
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Nigeria’s 16-64yr-olds to double in 30yrs yet not enough jobs

Nigeria’s workforce to double in 30yrs yet not enough jobs

Nigeria’s current workforce, estimated at 117.7 million, is projected to reach 259.9 million by 2050, yet, unemployment has continued to grow in Africa’s largest economy.

In the next 30 years, Nigerians within the working age bracket will more than double, while other developed countries would have reduced their working population.

This increases the risk for Nigeria, which would be at risk of becoming a fertile ground for developed countries who may hunt for young and vibrant talent to develop their economics.

According to data from the population estimates and projections from US Census Bureau International Data Base (IDB), a global demographic product, the estimated working age (15-64) population of some developed countries like South Korea, Japan, Spain, Germany, China, Russia and Italy will reduce by 27.3 percent, 26.3 percent, 25.4 percent, 21.0 percent, 19 percent, 18.3 percent and 14.4 percent, respectively, in 2050, while Nigeria’s own would increase by 120.8 percent.

“These countries will begin to attract and take your talent in raw form and now build, mould, and cast them to fit their own production environment, while the leftover will keep incurring social cost at the expense of the economy,” Ayodele Shittu, a lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Lagos, said.

According to Shittu, the leftover ones will not be useful to themselves nor the society, so the Nigerian economy will be losing on both sides.

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With a fertility rate of 5.5 births per woman, Nigeria’s population of over 200 million is the most populated in Africa and has been projected by the United Nations to become the world’s third largest population of 410 million by 2050.

For Nigeria, its rapid population grows faster than its economic growth rate, which creates pressures on limited natural resources, thereby leading to poverty. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 40 percent of people (82.9m) in Nigeria live below its poverty line of N137,430 ($381.75) per year.

That number might increase further as a report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation predicted that by 2050, more than 40 percent of the extremely poor people in the world would live in just two countries: Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

“High population (especially the population of youths) can be an asset to a nation, and it can be a liability as well. It will be a liability if the strength of the population cannot be put into maximum use,” Moses Ojo, a Lagos-based economist, said.

Following two economic recessions in five years and with an unemployment rate of 33.3 percent, the highest on record and among the highest in the world, Nigerians are now trying to find ways to leave the country and developed countries are intensifying offers of exciting incentives to luring away young talents from the country.

A situation where a country’s population now doubles and the economy is not growing as fast as it should to keep up pace with the population explosion means economic challenges will excavate significantly, Damilola Adewale, a Lagos-based economic analyst, said.

In order for Nigeria to overcome this future challenge and use its high working age population to an advantage, industrial development is necessary to create jobs.

Andrew Alli, a finance professional and former CEO of the Africa Finance Corporation, welcomes Chinese loans to finance and build African infrastructure.

Nigeria borrowed funds have been targeted at paying salaries and overheads in the government’s budget with little attention paid to capital expenditure believed to drive growth.

As of September 2020, the country has nearly tripled its debt profile to N32.2 trillion ($84bn) from N11.2 trillion ($67bn) some five years ago.

“Borrowing is not helping us; the best is to make use of our idle assets that are worth billions of dollars. So, we should start promoting conversations at the national and sub national levels on how these assets can be revived and how they can be put into productive uses to support employment opportunities for the citizens,” Adewale suggested.