Nigeria’s Rising Unemployment Rate Scares World Bank

Richard Ginika Izuora

The World Bank has painted a gloomy picture of unemployment situation in Nigeria which has been exacerbated by the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bank in a report on Friday, July 23, revealed that Nigeria’s unemployment crisis in recent times is the worst in the nation’s history.

It said, “Between 2010 and 2020, the unemployment rate rose five-fold; from 6.4 percent in 2010 to 33.3 percent in 2020.

“The rise in unemployment rates has been particularly acute since the 2015- 2016 economic recession; and has further worsened as COVID-19 led to the worst recession in four decades in 2020,” the report showed.

Titled  ‘Of Roads Less Travelled: Assessing the Potential for Migration to Provide Overseas Jobs for Nigeria’s Youth’ the report, published by the World Bank with support from the Korea World Bank Partnership Facility (KWPF) and the Rapid Social Response (RSR) trust funds stated that the nation’s expanding working-age population combined with scarce domestic employment opportunities is creating high rates of unemployment, particularly for youth.

It further stated that the unemployment statistics was significantly higher for youth (42.5 per cent) compared to non-youth (26.3 per cent).

It was also discovered that women are particularly vulnerable in Nigeria’s labor market.

“Compared to 46.4 percent of the male population who are fully employed; only 40.6 percent of women are fully employed”.

The World Bank also stated that the number of international migrants from Nigeria has increased threefold since 1990; growing from 446,806 in 1990 to 1,438,331 in 2019.

Also, the share of international migrants as a proportion to Nigeria’s population has remained largely constant; increased slightly from 0.5 per cent in 1990 to 0.7 per cent in 2019.

The World Bank while noting that key sectoral documents; such as the National Labor Migration Policy (2014) and National Employment Policy (2017) offer suitable suggestions; to leverage managed migration for providing overseas employment opportunities to Nigerian youth; the issue of migration is absent or less salient in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017–2020).

“With Nigeria receiving more than US$25 billion in remittances in 2019; the absence of migration as a mainstream development tool to provide jobs to the bulging youth population is perplexing,” it said.

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