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Nigeria Growing Population A Worry?

BBC 16th Feb 2019 12:12:00  0

You're into dangerous territory in Nigeria if you try to establish which ethnic or religious group has the biggest population as it brings to the fore a multitude of rivalries - and tensions over money as the larger a state's population, the greater the budget allocated by the central government.

Yet there is no denying that Nigeria's population is growing at a dizzying speed. By 2047 it will have overtaken the US to become the world's third-largest nation with 387 million people, according to UN projections.

It is also a very young nation with more than 40% of the population of 196 million under the age of 14. And young people are set to play a huge role in this election with more than half of registered voters under the age of 35. The huge growth presents an opportunity for the country with its entrepreneurial spirit as it could in theory take advantage of the economic dividend that a young dynamic population can bring. This is especially true as the workforce in more developed nations is getting older. But it is also a challenge for policy makers.

Young graduates can frequently be heard complaining that there are not enough high-quality jobs available, and many speak about hoping to leave the country. Looking at population growth in Africa in general, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned that without proper planning it could become a political catastrophe.