The bank has disclosed during its Nigeria Development Update virtual event, which was themed ‘Rising to the challenge: Nigeria’s COVID-19 response’ that by 2022, about 11 million more Nigerians were expected to fall into poverty due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The world financial body on Thursday projected that the number of poor Nigerians would increase from the current 90 million to about 100 million by 2022 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy.
Marco Hernandez, in a presentation at the event, an economist with the bank, stated that before the COVID-19 pandemic, about two million Nigerians were expected to fall into poverty in 2020 as population growth outpaced economic growth.
Hernadez said, “With the COVID-19, the recession is likely to push an additional 6.6 million Nigerians into poverty in 2020, bringing the total newly poor to 8.6 million this year.
“This implies an increase in the total number of the poor in Nigeria from about 90 million in 2020 to about 100 million in 2022. Northern states are more likely to be affected.”
On factors that explain the increase in poverty, the bank said having vulnerable employment, receiving fewer remittances, and being close to the poverty line were some of the factors.
In terms of the portfolio size of the bank in Nigeria, the World Bank Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri, said, “There are three different ways of looking at the size of our portfolio.
“The first is how much concessional finance. If you look at how much our board has approved in terms of this financing, in the middle of 2018, is about $7bn.”
He added, “Since then and up till now, they’ve approved another $3bn in terms of financing. So, that brings us to $10bn and then with the $1.5bn that’s being considered in December, it will take it to somewhere around $11.5bn. That’s what the board has approved.”
On the $1.5bn loans which Nigeria is expecting from the World Bank, Chaudhuri said the facility was still in the works. The World Bank also put the financing portfolio approved by its board for Nigeria at about $11.5bn.
It is important to note that the World Bank reports that multidimensional poverty is generally one and a half times higher than monetary poverty. While not exactly true in Nigeria, we see a similar trend. Nigeria had 87 million people categorised as extremely poor; however, this year’s UNDP data estimates 98 million Nigerians are living in multidimensional poverty. This is understandable as the multidimensional approach takes a broader view of poverty, so is likely to include those not considered financially poor.
Without strategic interventions which directly deal with the issues presented, Nigerians can expect to see grimmer reports like the one published by the UNDP. It is projected that by 2030, there will be at least 120 million Nigerians living in poverty, an estimate that was arrived at using a monetary-based approach of $1.90 per day. That figure would be substantially higher once we take a multidimensional view of poverty. Whatever way we look at it, Nigeria needs to act now.