World Bank On Poverty: Finance Minister Attributes Nigeria’s Rating To Population

Okonjo-Iweala on WBNigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been explaining how the World Bank arrived at its rating of Nigeria among the extreme poor nations of the world.

Fielding questions from journalists at a forum in Abuja, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala explained that the rating was based on the large number of poor people living in the country, a phenomenon she said was peculiar to middle income countries, including Nigeria.

“India is a middle income country, one of the largest in the world, like Nigeria, is a big economy but the largest number of poor people in the world resides in India and China and other places.

“Most middle income countries, even Brazil have large numbers of poor people. That is the reality of today, Nigeria is no exception”, she said.

She explained further, “Today, if you go to the Chinese, they will tell you ‘let us slow down about praising China’ because we still have a substantial number of poor people; Brazil the same, that is why they started the safety net programme in Brazil and that is what President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has asked four or five of his ministers to get together and try to build this platform.

“So we should not try to single Nigeria out. What we have to do is focus on what is the answer, what are other countries doing that we can also learn from and do. Nobody says that everything is fine but we are learning and where we make some progress like other countries, we should also acknowledge it.”

Other countries also rated by the World Bank group as extremely poor are India, China, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya.

World Bank Rates Nigeria Among Extremely Poor Countries

World-BankThe World Bank Group has rated Nigeria among the world’s extremely poor countries, promising to assist in ending what it called ‘extreme poverty’ in the nations.

Other countries that were also rated as extremely poor are India, China, Bangladesh, DR Congo, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya.

At the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington on Wednesday, in advance of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, World Bank President, Dr Jim Yong Kim, stated that the global bank would deal with the extreme poverty in Nigeria and its counterparts in the coming years.

Ending Extreme Poverty By 2030

He said: “The fact is that two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor are concentrated in just five countries: India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  If you add another five countries, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Kenya, the total grows to 80 per cent of the extreme poor.”

Dr Kim stressed that the World Bank Group would focus on Nigeria and other nine countries, but emphasised that the plan would not make other countries in the world to be ignored.

“We will have a strategy that ensures that no country is left behind, as we move toward the target of ending extreme poverty by 2030,″ he said.

The World Bank President also announced a series of measures aimed at strengthening the World Bank Group to better meet the evolving needs of clients, including a $100 billion increase in the lending capacity of the Bank’s lending arm for middle-income countries over the next decade.

According to Dr. Kim, this new innovations in financial management, and a boost in the institution’s ability to provide private sector support follows the record $52 billion replenishment of IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, in December 2013.

Kim also outlined how the Bank was positioning itself to better achieve its goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the lowest 40 per cent in developing countries.

“We now have the capacity to nearly double our annual lending to middle-income countries from $15 billion to $26 to $28 billion a year. This means that the World Bank’s lending capacity will increase by $100 billion to roughly $300 billion over the next ten years.

“This is in addition to the largest IDA replenishment in history, with $52 billion in grants and concessional loans to support the poorest countries,” he said.