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Nigeria’s extreme poor to hit 95.1m by end of 2022 – World Bank

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The World Bank has predicted that by the end of 2022, the number of extremely poor people in Nigeria will hit the 95.1 million mark, with an estimated 5 million additional people slipping below the poverty line.

The Washington-based World Bank which made this damning prediction in its poverty assessment report entitled ‘A Better Future for All Nigerians: 2022 Nigeria Poverty Assessment,’ on Wednesday, said despite repeated promises by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty, the indices suggest otherwise.

On several occasions, President Buhari and members of his team have claimed that his government has lifted millions of Nigerians out of poverty, with a projection that by 2023, as many as 100 million Nigerians would have been lifted out of poverty.

But the World Bank report states otherwise as it painted a bleak future for Nigeria’s poor.

Blaming most of the problems that has continued to deepen the country’s economy crisis on unfavourable policies of the government, hich include multiple exchange rates, the country’s trade restrictions, bans on certain goods and the 2019 border closure.

“Such policies have immediate negative effects on poverty reduction through the price channel, as trade restrictions can make the goods that poor households consume, especially food items, more expensive, reducing people’s purchasing power and welfare in turn,” the report said.

“Between 2000 and 2014, Nigeria enjoyed a period of sustained expansion, during which the economy grew by around 7 percent per year, outstripping the estimated annual population growth rate of 2.6 percent.

“But real GDP growth dropped to 2.7 percent in 2015, then 1.6 percent in 2016, as the decline in global oil prices induced Nigeria’s first recession in almost two decades.

“Growth has not recovered subsequently. It lies below population growth and the growth performance of peer countries over the same period. This weakening overall growth performance makes it significantly harder to reduce poverty.”

The bank, however, suggested a way out for the country in the report. It encouraged the strengthening of Nigeria’s social protection system as that will strengthen public trust in governance, develop administrative reach, and boost resilience in the people as that will be crucial for the country’s future.

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IMF Chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, to visit China over Africa’s growing debt profile

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As the debt profile of many African countries continues to rise, the International Monetary Fund strategy chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu will travel to China next week for another high-level meeting.

Her travel is part of efforts to press the world’s largest sovereign creditor for quicker progress on debt restructurings for countries in need.

The IMF chief had called for debt restructuring arrangements for Zambia and Chad to be completed shortly.

Pazarbasioglu said it was critical to move forward and that “outreach to China next week is very important, at the highest levels.”

“It’s moving – very slowly, but it’s moving,” Pazarbasioglu said, noting that the participation of mining company Glencore Plc in the Chad treatment was also “a very good sign” that “even the most difficult private sector participants” were participating.

She said the Paris Club of official bilateral creditors had taken years to hammer out their debt relief processes, and China was learning, although she noted that the debt issues facing borrowing countries now were acute.

“The problem we have is that we don’t have that time right now because these countries are very fragile and dealing with debt vulnerabilities,” she said. “What we need is speed.”

Pazarbasioglu said the IMF would continue to press for changes to the Common Framework, including a freeze in debt payments when countries apply for a debt treatment, as well as clearer procedures and timelines for action, and ensuring comparable treatment for private creditors.

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Botswana central bank predicts fall of inflation rates, maintains monetary policy

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Botswana’s central bank has predicted that the country’s inflation rate will gradually fall back within its target range by 2024.

The bank is predicting that inflation will fall back within the 3%-6% range in the third quarter of 2024. The prediction has made it keep its monetary policy rate unchanged at 2.65% on Thursday.

The bank’s governor, Moses Pelaelo while speaking at a news conference said “the domestic economy will continue to perform below capacity in the medium term and therefore not pose any inflationary pressures.”

The inflation rate in the Southern African country dipped to 13.1% year on year in October from 13.8% in September but is still far above the central bank’s 3%-6% preferred band.

“The drop in inflation in the past months is due to the dissipating effects of previous increases in administered prices,” Pelaelo said.

According to the World Bank, Botswana’s reliance on diamonds and a public sector-driven model makes the economy vulnerable to external shocks, as diamonds contribute over 80% of total exports and are a major source of fiscal revenues.

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