World Bank has raised alarm over Nigeria’s rising unemployment situation, saying the country is facing one of the most acute jobless crises in recent times.
This was contained in the Bank’s latest report titled, ‘Of Roads Less Travelled: Assessing the Potential for Migration to Provide Overseas Jobs for Nigeria’s Youth’, published on its website.
The report read in part: “Nigeria is facing one of the most acute jobless crises in recent times. Between 2014 and 2020, Nigeria’s working age population grew from 102 million to 122 million, growing at an average rate of approximately 3 per cent per year.
“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.
“Similarly, Nigeria’s active labour force population, i.e., those willing and able to work among the working age population, grew from 73 million in 2014 to 90 million in 2018, adding 17.5 million new entrants to Nigeria’s active labour force.
“Since 2018, however, the active labour force population has dramatically decreased to around 70 million—lower than the level in 2014—while the number of Nigerians who are in the working-age population but not active in the labour force has increased from 29 million to 52 million between 2014 and 2020.”
The Washington-based institution explained further that the poor combination of the rising unemployment, booming demographics, and unfulfilled aspirations is increasing the pressure on young Nigerians to migrate in search of gainful employment overseas.
The institution said: “Unemployment is considered to be a key driver of migration. The number of first-time asylum seekers from Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria to Europe peaked in 2016, at the height of the European migration crisis, before subsiding in late-2017 (Figure ES.3).
“Nigerians represented the largest group of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa to arrive in Europe in 2016 and 2017. Nearly 40,000 Nigerians arrived in Italy in 2016 with over 90 percent arriving via sea routes.
“Nigeria’s institutions are well-placed to promote managed migration approaches that help create opportunities for prospective Nigerian jobseekers to find employment internationally and can be supported to help design schemes that increases the returns to human capital investments for Nigerian youth.
“One consequence of inaction to the rising migratory pressure has been the increase in irregular migration to Europe which has resulted in Nigerian migrants facing not only higher economic costs but also physical and psychological abuse along the transit corridors in Niger and Libya.”