Northeast conflict leaves Nigeria in $100b economic loss – UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Wednesday in Abuja said Nigeria has recorded nothing less than $100 billion loss in the last 10 years due to the conflict in the Northeastern part of the country.
With devastating impacts on human lives, especially children, the loss is about two times the size of the nation’s 2023 $47 billion national budget and almost the size of the nation’s total debt, which the Debt Management Office put at $108.30 billion.
Speaking at the launch of a report on “The Economic Cost of Conflict in North East Nigeria UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate said over 6,400 grave violations were verified by the United Nations in Nigeria between 2017 and 2021, adding that the grave violations reflect the compound cost in the lives and futures for Nigerian children.
While the prevailing development is already hurting Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by almost 3 per cent, the report shows that the losses could exceed $200 billion by 2030 if concerted efforts are not urgently taken.
Affecting not only the conflicted region but the country as a whole, the study reveals that as of 2021, the Nigerian economy was 2.5 per cent smaller than it would have been without the conflict, equating to a cumulative loss of approximately $100 billion over the last ten years.
The report noted that over 2 million people currently remain displaced, and around one million children have missed school due to the armed conflict.
“The data collected brings a harrowing reality into sharp focus. This isn’t merely a localized issue; the economic and social repercussions of this conflict are felt nationwide and beyond. However, the greatest tragedy lies in the impact on our children – their disrupted education and the violation of their basic rights are losses that cannot be quantified,” Munduate said.
“Even if we anticipate a reduction in conflict effects over the next ten years, the Nigerian economy still faces profound cumulative losses. The ‘scarring’ effect of this drawn-out conflict may inhibit the economy from achieving its full potential, putting the nation’s future prosperity in jeopardy.
“The time to act is now. The future of our children and our nation’s economic growth are at stake. We must prioritize peace and the protection of children’s rights to ensure a brighter future for Nigeria.”
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