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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 FOUR Impulses from the Catholic Social Teaching


Introduction Having attempted in the previous chapters to understand the nature of poverty and the informal economy, how they exist in the world at large and in Nigeria in particular and the challenges they pose, the next task is the search for an ethical orientation for dealing with the problem of poverty. This task is taken up in this chapter. The outcome of this endeavour will provide a basis for assessing the past and current poverty alleviation efforts both at the international scene and in Nigeria. In clear terms, this chapter attempts to articulate the impulses from Catholic social teaching (CST). It seeks to derive the needed ethical orientation from the catholic social teaching on poverty and its alleviation. We will start by presenting what we understand by Catholic social teaching. Next, we will take a look at the principles that form the basis of the CST, pointing out their relevance for poverty and its alleviation. We will then go on to examine the central Catholic social teaching on poverty and its alleviation. Our focus will be on what the Church teaches through her social doctrine and the guidelines offered for the alleviation of poverty. The different project and interventions of the Universal Church in favour of the poor through, for instance, charity work, is therefore outside the scope of this chapter. 4.1 Catholic Social Teaching: Conceptual Framework Catholic social teaching, especially in its modern form, refers to the entire “doctrinal ‘corpus’ concerning issues relevant to the society which, from...

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