In line with the United Nation’s agenda to end extreme poverty by year 2030 under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Global Citizen, a global movement for citizen-led actions to eradicate poverty and improve human living conditions is collaborating with the Nigerian private sector to harness resources towards achieving the SDGs objective of ending poverty.
Despite the positive global trend, poverty rates in Africa have increased. Today, two-thirds of those living in extreme poverty globally live in Africa, and at current rates, by 2030 the continent will account for 90% of all individuals living in extreme poverty. Nigeria tops the list of the African countries where rates of poverty are increasing, with six people falling into extreme poverty every minute. Current estimates put the number of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria at 89 million. The highest anywhere in the world and more than 40% of the population live below poverty line.
However, to address these rather stark realities, the Federal Government of Nigeria pledged to lift 100 million people out of extreme poverty over the next 10 years, an average of 10 million per annum. “Achieving Nigeria’s pledge to lift 100 million people out of poverty in the next decade will only be possible if the public sector, private sector and civil society collaborate closely. A co-ordinated, multi-stakeholder approach is essential,” said Tunde Folawiyo, chairman of Global Citizen Nigeria.
According to him, Nigerian private sector commits to providing 774 Primary Healthcare centres across Nigeria. Hence, the Global Citizen convened a policy forum in Lagos late 2019 to present the policy objectives for Global Goal Live, which is a ‘Possible Dream’ campaign to stakeholders from Nigeria’s public and private sectors, civil society and the media on the need to collaborate in creating the synergy for poverty eradication in Nigeria.
However, speaking at a recent policy forum that focused on healthcare delivery system in Nigeria as a core component of the UN SDGs, Folawiyo said that the private sector and civil society can no longer stand aloof from addressing issues of poverty in Nigeria because failure to address extreme poverty in Nigeria will put everyone at risk.
“Nigeria is already dubbed the poverty capital of the world. And in the next 15 years, a World Bank recent report said Nigeria will host 25per cent of the extremely poor population of the world. That is a very worrisome statistics we must begin to work to address as a people. We cannot just stand by and do nothing,” said Folawiyo.
Similarly, the group scheduled September 26, 2020, for what it tagged the largest live broadcast event in history, coming to Lago. The historic 10-hour global media event will showcase simultaneous festivals in Lagos and New York’s Central Park as well as satellite events in Seoul, Korea, and to be announced cities in Latin America and Europe, and will see the worlds of pop, policy and business unite to create unprecedented change and lasting impact.
“The government alone cannot deliver the resources we need to win the fight against extreme poverty. We must create multiple entry points to allow local and global influencers come together and make a difference. Innovative financing models, creative partnerships and new technology is what this movement to end poverty must deliver,” said Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, the vice chairman, Global Citizen Nigeria.
On the position of the Global Citizen’s Nigeria Policy intervention on the healthcare delivery system, Aig-Imoukhuede called the attention of the stakeholders, especially organised private sector players to the state of Primary Healthcare system in Nigeria. According to him, out of the 30,000 Primary Healthcare Centres in the country, less than 3000 are functioning well.
Aig-Imoukhuede posits that Universal Healthcare cannot be achieved without a robust Primary Healthcare system as the bedrock. He also said the Nigerian government at all levels cannot, on their own, meet the SDGs without private sector’s involvement. “It is impossible for the Nigerian government on its own to meet the SDGs. The private sector and the civil society must join in the efforts. Government in Nigeria only controls 10per cent of the entire GDP while the private sector controls 90per cent. This shows the strength of the private sector in our country. The private sector must work with the government to deliver the SDGs.”
Mick Sheldrick, the co-founder of Global Citizen said the movement has created millions of positive citizens’ actions across the world to hold leaders accountable in the fight against hunger and poverty.
“The world needs $350billion annually if we are to end extreme poverty and achieve the Global Goals in the 59 poorest countries by 2030. And as we’ve seen, each year we do not meet this cost, more people will fall into poverty and the cost of inaction will go up. That’s why 2020 must be a year of urgency where we remind the world’s governments and businesses of the budget gap facing the goals, they all signed up for. We look forward to working with the Nigerian private sector to help drive progress toward the Goals,” said Sheldrick.
According to him, despite the enormous wealth in the world, poverty is increasing in certain regions of the world especially in Africa while Nigeria is projected to host about 25per cent of the world extremely poor people in the next 15 years if urgent actions are not taken. Sheldrick opined that the organised private sector and civil society should partner with the government, which has greater responsibility, for the welfare of citizens.
On the level of commitment across the continent, Sheldrick said, “We saw engaged citizens take over 5.65 million actions globally which resulted in 60 commitments and announcements worth $7.2billion set to affect the lives of 121 million people around the world. In South Africa, more than 400,000 people have already joined the movement and across Africa. We are happy to be in Nigeria and ready to work with private sector philanthropy and government to achieve the SDGs and end poverty,” said the co-founder who doubles as the chief policy officer for Global Citizen.
“We are working with the state and local governments because that is where the people are. We are happy to collaborate and work with Global Citizen to eradicate poverty in our country. I want to also commend Mr. Folawiyo and Aig-Imoukhuede for leading the private sector efforts. It is only when we the public and private sectors work together that we can solve the problem of poverty of our people,” said Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the senior special assistant to the President on SDGs, stating that a national framework in line with the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) is being mainstreamed into the sub-national governments for adoption as part of government’s efforts towards eradicating poverty.