This story was originally published by Michael Adigam on Medium.
Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people and a rapidly growing economy. However, Nigeria also faces significant challenges of social and environmental sustainability such as high levels of gender inequality and poverty, also facing significant environmental challenges such as deforestation, air pollution, and climate change. One important way to address these challenges is through the adoption of doughnut economics.
Doughnut economics is an economic model proposed by economist Kate Raworth that aims to balance the competing demands of the economy, society, and the environment. The model visualizes the ideal state of an economy as a doughnut, with the inner ring representing the minimum requirements for human well-being and the outer ring representing the maximum amount of resource consumption that can be sustained by the planet.
By focusing on meeting the needs of all people within the limits of the planet through a combination of economic policies and social initiatives that prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable members of society, as well as efforts to protect and preserve the natural environment and grow the economy, doughnut economics demonstrates that economic growth is sustainable and equitable.
On the other hand, gender inclusion refers to the equal treatment and opportunities for individuals regardless of their gender, and also includes efforts to close the gender gap in education, employment, political representation and socioeconomic development.
Gender inclusion is a critical issue in Nigeria. Despite some progress in recent years, women and girls in Nigeria continue to face significant barriers to education, employment, political representation and socioeconomic development. According to UNICEF, only about half of girls in Nigeria complete primary school, and women are underrepresented in leadership roles in both the public and private sectors thereby involving less in the nation’s economic development.
At the same time, one of the main challenges in Nigeria is the high level blend of poverty and gender inequality. According to the World Bank, over 40% of the population lives below the poverty line, and the income gap between the rich and the poor is among the highest in the world. This is exacerbated by the fact that Nigeria has a highly unequal distribution of wealth, with a small elite controlling a large portion of the country's resources.
Both doughnut economics and gender inclusion are important considerations for achieving long-term social and economic progress, as Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa.
The adoption and practical use of doughnut economics in Nigeria could help to promote gender inclusion by creating a pool of equal opportunities for both women and men for more sustainable and equitable socioeconomic growth and development. This could involve making policies that move to reduce stereotyping, inhospitable corporate cultures, and promote sponsorships of small and medium-sized enterprises for women within communities.
By also focusing on equally meeting the needs of all members of different underserved societies at grassroots, rather than just maximizing and generalizing economic growth, the doughnut model could help reduce poverty and inequality in Nigeria.
It is important for Nigeria to adopt policies and initiatives that promote gender inclusion and empower women and girls towards socio economic development. This could include initiatives such as improving access to education, promoting women's participation in the labor force, and increasing the representation of women in leadership roles.
Both doughnut economics and gender inclusion are an important blend that needs to be utilized in Nigeria to ascertain development in all aspects of the Nation. By adopting this sustainable and equitable economic model and promoting gender inclusion, Nigeria can build a more prosperous and inclusive society for all its citizens and tap into the full potential of its rapidly growing population.
Image credits: Nigeria Doughnut diagram available at https://goodlife.leeds.ac.uk/. Photos by Abubakar Balogun, Ayodeji Alabi, Fatima Yusuf, and Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona available on Unsplash.
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