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Why Nigeria leads African countries where homelessness is highest

Why Nigeria leads African countries where homelessness is highest

Though there is no armed conflict or war which displaces people from their homes in Nigeria, the country which prides itself as the largest economy in the continent, has the highest level of homelessness.

It is estimated that 24.4 people in the country are homeless, meaning that they are living without a place they can call home. Another country that comes next to Nigeria is Egypt where it is also estimated that 12 million people are homeless.

Read also: Nigeria, Egypt top African countries with highest case of homelessness

Eight other countries where homelessness is at the highest level in Africa are DR Congo, 5,332,000; Somalia, 2,968,000; Sudan, 2,730,000; Ethiopia, 2,693,000; South Sudan, 1,542,000; Cameroon, 1,033,000; Mozambique, 769,000 and Burkina Faso,700,000.

Business Insider Africa, an online platform with an interest in human settlements, notes that many individuals find themselves without a place to call home. They live on the streets, in informal settlements, or in overcrowded slums.

Read also: Homelessness hits Nigerians’ most preferred ‘japa’ destination

The platform notes further that the problem of homelessness knows no barriers and countries all over the world struggle to combat the problem. “Africa is no different as it, too, confronts this troubling predicament,” it said.

However, the degree of homelessness in Africa varies from one region to another. In some countries, homelessness is driven by armed conflicts and internal displacement, as people are forced to flee their homes due to violence or socio-political persecution,” it added.

Adekunle Agbetiloye, a researcher at Business Insider Africa, says that besides socio-political problems which are the major cause of homelessness in some parts of Nigeria, urbanisation and rapid population growth contribute to homelessness in major cities like Lagos where the scarcity of affordable housing creates significant challenges.

In Lagos, Nigeria, scarcity of affordable housing for sale or rent is the reason many residents are homeless. According to the state’s commissioner for housing, Akinderu Fatai-Moruf, over 80 percent of the state’s estimated 22 million population lives in rented accommodation.

There are other reasons, though, why some people are homeless in Nigeria. These range from high input and energy costs to volatile exchange rates, regulatory issues bordering on long, tortuous and costly property registration processes, and infrastructure challenges which shrink the housing supply.

Nigeria has a housing deficit put at 22 million units that requires about 700,000 housing units to be produced annually for the next 20 years to bridge. Currently, the average annual supply by both public and private developers is put at 50,000 units.

In Egypt, Nigeria’s closest rival in homelessness, the housing problem is considered one of the most urgent problems facing the country’s development programmes. The problem, according to analysts, emanates from high rates of population growth, a rise in domestic migration from rural to urban areas, and the concentration of available public funding in the construction of new housing units.

Homelessness in the country is a significant social issue affecting some 12 million people. The country has over 1,200 areas designated for irregular dwellings that do not conform to standard building laws, allowing homeless people to build shacks and other shelters for themselves.