Nigeria’s population: is it a blessing or a crisis?

According to a report by the United Nations titled “World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision”, the current world population of 7.3 billion is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100.

Nigeria is expected to contribute largely to that number.

In fact, the international body predicts that Nigeria will be the third most populous country in the world by 2050, standing behind just India and China.

Nigeria’s population, currently the seventh largest in the world, is growing most rapidly and is projected to surpass that of the United States by about 2050, at which point the African country would become the third largest in the world.

On the face of it, that should be a good thing. A growing population can generate economic growth. The birth of more people means there will be a greater number of parents investing in their youth.

There are other benefits like Increased purchases in products such as food, clothing, education-related expenses, sporting goods and toys feed the economy.
Parents with small children purchase larger homes to make room for their children.
The larger homes that parents with children purchase feed the construction industry economically.

However, if not handled properly there are downsides like depletion of natural resources, degradation of the environment, conflicts and wars, rise in unemployment and high cost of living.

Countries like India and China have been able to harness the gigantic power of their populations because their economies are sustained by exports fueled by industrial production.

Nigeria on the other hand suffers because it’s an economy dependent on oil which has a mammoth youth group that is largely ill motivated, poorly educated with very little skill set and unemployed.

Indeed, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy with a GDP greater than Sweden’s and half a population less than 14 years old. In 1950, Nigerians were placed at a numerical strength of 32 million, today by most estimates that figure is closer to a staggering 180 million and could balloon to 505 million by 2050.

Some countries with large populations are often counted among the strongest and wealthiest in the world yet others are also counted among the poorest.

So where does Nigeria stand? Is our population a blessing or a crisis? That’s what I saught to find out when I had a chat with Tope Fasua, CEO at Global Analytics Consulting Limited.

Tope is a sound and intelligent economic expert. He is the author of a number of books like “Things to Do . . . Before Your Career Disappears” and “Crushed!: Navigating Africa’s Tortuous Quest for Development – Myths and Realities”

Joining him in the conversation is Soji Adeniyi, Chief Responsibility Officer, MPM Insights who has worked with the United Nations for over 20 years.

I really enjoyed asking them questions and found their answers quite educative. I really learned a whole lot.

It is a scintillating and revealing conversation that you would not want to miss.

Click to play and enjoy


4 Replies to “Nigeria’s population: is it a blessing or a crisis?”

    • stanleybentu

      I think population is like a double edged sword which can cut for or against you depending on how you invest in it. Our neglect of the young is really haunting us as a nation

  1. Dee Green Cycles Ideh

    This is an absolutely critical issue which must be addressed by any government which is serious about development. Unfortunately many politicians in Nigeria do not have the capacity to grasp the issue. The generational gap also means that they are less invested in the future of Nigeria. Which is a very important reason why more young people need to get involved in politics. Also our campaign finance laws need to be strengthened to improve democracy in Nigeria and prevent the gambling nature of our current politics which is not in the national interest. When rich people buy influence and politicians it excludes marginalized peoples and communities and so you will have a system which is skewered towards the interest and priorities of the rich and not the politically excluded groups in society . We need to promote local democracy and increase the space where citizens can participate in government decision making.

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