Home to more than 160 million people, Nigeria has the largest population and the second largest economy in Africa, and has a major influence on the continent’s political agenda.
However, Nigeria has a history of political instability, corruption and mismanagement of public resources, and has recently seen religious and ethnic conflict. As a result, more than half of Nigeria's population still live in poverty.
Despite four peaceful transitions of power since a return to civilian rule in 1999, Nigeria’s politics continue to be characterised by patronage, ineffective opposition, low voter turnout and voting along ethnic and religious lines.
Most of Nigeria’s wealth is held by a tiny economic and political elite and many people feel powerless to challenge the current system, campaign for their rights or hold their government to account for wasted public resources.
Nigeria has committed to allocating 15% of its gross domestic product (GDP) to health, but current spending falls far short of this. Combined with poor management of resources, this has led to insufficient and undertrained staff, poor infrastructure and a lack of drugs and other items. Consequently, many people are dying of treatable and preventable illnesses.
Although Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, and has a rapidly growing economy, the country still only raises 12% of GDP through tax. This means Nigeria’s government is missing out on vital revenue that could provide healthcare, education and other essential services – the things Nigerians need to develop and thrive.
Gender discrimination is deep-rooted and pervasive in Nigeria. Women and girls are disadvantaged in every aspect of life. Violence against women is common and although Nigeria has a National Gender Policy, this has yet to be translated into action.