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decade earlier, the term refers to those instances when a country suffers from exchange rate problems result- ing from its sudden overdependence on the export of a single commodity, usually an unrefined or unpro- cessed natural resource of some description.52

In the case of Nigeria, the country was flooded with foreign currency, which raised the value of the naira to artificially high levels. As a result, imported goods were much cheaper and were highly sought after by the nouveaux riches because of the status attached to them. This led to a decrease in demand for local ag- ricultural and manufactured products, sending these sectors of the economy into decline. Their collapse has been hastened by the flight of huge numbers of people from the countryside to the cities as they seek to make their fortunes on the back of the oil bonanza. As a re- sult, the country’s economy contracted by an average of -0.1 percent per annum between 1975 and 2005.53

Unsurprisingly, this prolonged period of stagna- tion has had a devastating effect on the livelihoods and standards of living of many ordinary Nigerians. One of the most pressing problems is perennial un- and un- deremployment. As it is, there are no accurate statistics as to what proportion of the labor force is either out of work, working part-time, or working in the infor- mal economy. Sheikh Kabara estimates that between 70 and 80 percent of the workforce in northern Nigeria is unemployed.54 While he has no hard data to back this claim, his is an informed opinion based on what he sees and hears daily. Moreover, it broadly tallies with the best guesses of the UN, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank, which suspect that the rate of jobless in the region is extremely high.

One of the main reasons there is so much unem- ployment in the north is because the number of people


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