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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 THREE Poverty and the Informal Economy in Nigeria


Introduction In this chapter our focus shifts from poverty and informal economy in general to poverty and the informal economy in Nigeria. The first task would be to examine how and why poverty exists both among the working population and in the nation as a whole. This will warrant examining the political economic and social circumstances in the nation with a view to understanding how they have impacted on the human development and overall wellbeing in the nation. Thereafter, an in- depth consideration will be given to the informal economy where most of the poor in Nigeria work and earn their living. This is with a view to ascertaining how the prevailing socio-economic and political circumstances which determine the condition in which the poor work and live also affect the ability of the poor to use their labour (the most valuable if not the only asset they have) to contribute meaningfully to wealth creation, have a fair share of the increased availability of public and private resources and participate fully in the life of the society. The relevance of the entire undertaking in this chapter is predicated on the conviction that the ability of a nation to keep itself and its citizens out of poverty depends squarely on its capability to use the resources it has to produce enough wealth to meet at least the basic needs of the entire population. Enough wealth can however be produced when the citizens of the nation are given the opportunity to develop their...

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