Nigeria requires the creation of 40 to 50 million new jobs to employ its rapidly growing population, according to a new report by the World Bank.
The study says Nigeria’s job market is currently highly polarised with a small share of the population benefiting from high growth while the vast majority is trapped in low-productivity traditional subsistence activities
To create a market that provides jobs for women and young people Nigeria needs to improve skills especially by developing more relevant technical vocational education and training.
It should also raise productivity of agriculture by increasing access to markets, inputs, credit, and technology.
The business climate in Nigeria also needs to improve with the biggest gains in productivity likely come from reducing crime, improving access to credit, reducing losses due to power cuts and increasing use of the internet, the bank said.
The study warned the country is developing a geographical divide between northern Nigeria, which has low levels of education access and high youth unemployment, and southern Nigeria, where the majority of jobs and income opportunities are located.
Two thirds of the population in the North East work in agriculture, compared to less than one in five in the South East.
Even though around half of all employed Nigerians work in smallholder farming, agriculture only contributed to 22% of GDP in 2012. Half of those working in agriculture belong to the poorest 40% of the population.
“Nigeria is facing a real challenge when it comes to creating enough good jobs for the many new entrants to the job market,” said Kathleen Beegle, World Bank lead economist and co-author of the report.