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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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CHAPTER ONET he Problem of Poverty


5 CHAPTER ONE The Problem of Poverty Introduction Poverty is a global phenomenon. It proves to be the oldest but yet unresolved social problem. It has been and is still being studied and interpreted from different perspectives – social economic, political, and religious. Consequently, there have been contrasting views about its nature, types, measurement and causes. Against this background, this chapter explores the important aspects of poverty with a view to gaining a good understanding of how it exists in our world today. 1.1 Conceptual Framework 1.1.1 Definition Poverty has many faces, changing from place to place and across time, and has been described in many ways. This multifaceted nature of Poverty was acknowledged by world’s heads of states at the Copenhagen World Summit of Social Development in 1995. Poverty, they observed, has various manifestations, including lack of income and productive resources sufficient to ensure sustainable livelihoods; hunger and malnutrition; ill health; limited or lack of access to education and other basic services; increased morbidity and mortality from illness; homelessness and inadequate housing; unsafe environments; and social discrimination and exclusion. It is also characterized by a lack of participation in decision-making and in civil, social and cultural life. 1 Amartya Sen defines poverty from the viewpoint of “capability” to function in the society. Base on his argument that well-being emanates from a capability to function in society, Sen postulates that poverty arises when people lack key capabilities, and so have inadequate income or education, or poor health, or insecurity, or low...

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