Development Aid and Nigeria’s Poverty Challenge: Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 in Focus

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Okoli, Uchenna
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University of Malta; DiploFoundation
The quest to eradicate poverty has been identified as the most critical challenge facing development in the world today. Women and children are disproportionately affected by poverty. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation. It is also one of the poorest countries in the world. Rapid progress in reducing poverty in Nigeria is dependent upon improved access to basic services, particularly health and education. If Nigeria fails to reduce poverty quickly enough, it is unlikely that the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved in Africa or globally. This research spotlights UNICEF and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) efforts in Nigeria; assessing them through progress on MDGs 4 and 5 targets – reduce maternal and under-five mortality ratios; which are highly sensitive to poverty levels. Findings reveal that only marginal improvements have been recorded. The problem is traceable to a combination of factors: aid administration processes and the adverse influence of women’s poverty and cultural biases which reinforce gender inequality. The methodology adopted was documentary review, involving sector-specific analysis of policy papers and related publications exploring a number of issues identified as critical to the attainment of the MDGs 4 and 5: poverty, human development, human poverty, maternal and child health and the role of aid/donors.