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Alleviating Poverty in Nigeria through the Improvement of the Labour Conditions in the Informal Economy

A Socio-ethical Enquiry


Samuel Rapu

«Just wage and just working conditions have always occupied a central position in Catholic social ethics. The social teaching of the Catholic Church has however preoccupied itself for a long time with the employment relationships in the formal economy. Consequently, the self-employment and the other individual economic activities in the informal economy, highly important in developing countries, have until now not been ethically reflected upon. In this excellent study, the author takes the Nigerian situation as a point of departure from which he offers new opportunities for developing a poverty alleviation strategy that aims, above all, at creating Decent Work opportunities in the informal economy. This is indeed an excellent contribution not only to the further development of the Catholic social ethics for the African context but also to the current efforts in the continent at reducing poverty in a sustainable way.»
Professor Dr. Bernhard Emunds, Frankfurt am Main


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Poverty has been a recurrent topic in international discussions, within which many approaches and strategies have been proposed for dealing with the social problem it constitutes. In the fields of academic pursuits, many theories aimed at dealing with the problem of poverty have also been propounded. In recent times, the global efforts at combating the menace of poverty have been intensified under the coordination of the various agencies of the United Nations Organization. Notable among these institutions committed to the alleviation of poverty are the Bretton Woods Institutions and the International Labour Organizations. In Nigeria, several efforts have also been made by successive governments and non-governmental organizations (NGO) including the Church to combat the menace of poverty in the nation. The pervasiveness of poverty in Nigeria despite the many poverty alleviation programmes that have been embarked upon raises a question about the suitability and effectiveness of the programmes with regard to the causes of the problem. There is therefore a need for a proper examination of the causes of poverty and the evaluation of the entire system for dealing with poverty in the nation. This dissertation derives its relevance from this perceived need. The entire project is therefore a critical enquiry into the problem of poverty in Nigeria. Being an enquiry, it raises some basic questions about human suffering in the nation. Such questions include: What is the nature of poverty in Nigeria? Who are the poor people in Nigeria? What are the causes of poverty? What efforts have been...

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