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THE JOBLESS YOUNG AND POOR IN NIGERIA: The Key Questions and the Possible Answers

THE JOBLESS YOUNG AND POOR IN NIGERIA: The Key Questions and the Possible Answers


Abstract: Keynes was right when he concluded in The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money that the outstanding fault of society is its failure to provide full employment and equitable distribution of wealth and income. While the global financial crisis and its associated problems of unemployment and inequalities have drawn renewed attention to
Keynes, the problem of jobless young and poor in Nigeria predates the global financial crisis and needs better understanding of its nature, pattern, causes and possible remedies. This is important because the problem has economic, social, health, political and security implications. This paper used conceptual, empirical and systems analyses to identify the jobless young and poor, their geopolitical locations, gender structure, duration of unemployment and causes of joblessness and poverty, as well as the options for addressing the problems. The data indicated that (1) the jobless young and poor spread across Nigeria but with greater concentration in the Northeast and Northwest, which also had the highest poverty rates; (2) the disadvantages linked to the problem of the jobless young and poor are multi-dimensional (age, education, class and gender) and systemic; and (3) the causes include demographic factors, external shocks, the employment elasticity of economic growth, poverty, geopolitical economy and gender structures. The paper framed the evaluation of remedies in terms of a choice between policy reform and transformation of thinking, values, relations and systems. It concluded that transformative thinking and values are fundamental to resolving the problem of the jobless young and poor.

JEL classification: E12; E24; E31

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