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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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Résumé As stated in the general introduction, this work aims at broadening the framework for poverty alleviation in Nigeria by probing into some of the dimensions that have received insufficient attention so as to make some recommendations for a coherent strategy for sustainable poverty alleviation in the nation. In view of this, an attempt was made to understand the concept of poverty and how it exists in the contemporary world – its conceptualization, types, scope, measurement and causes. Poverty was defined broadly as deprivation and lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. It means not having enough to feed and cloth a family, not having the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills; not having the land on which to grow one’s food or a job to earn one’s living, not having access to credit. It means insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, households and communities from economic and social life. It means not being protected. It means lack of voice and denial of rights. It means susceptibility to harassment, and it often implies living on marginal or fragile environments, without access to clean water or sanitation. It is a violation of human dignity. Special attention was given to the concept of working poverty, since the reality for most poor people is that they must work often in bad conditions and at works that are not productive enough to enable them lift themselves and their families out of poverty. The working poor are therefore working people living in poverty;...

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