Social mobility in Nigeria is getting worse. This means rising into higher social-economic circles in Nigeria especially for those born into the low-income class can be very difficult. This difficulty is what drives a significant number of Nigerians to seek greener pastures abroad.
The Global Social Mobility Index 2020 released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) indicates that Nigeria was not ranked among countries where people could easily move up the social ladder. The report also revealed sectors where Nigeria can improve on to increase social mobility that will allow people in the country to rise in social status.
Basically, Nigeria was not ranked among 82 countries whose Social Mobility Index was judged to provide a relative socio-economic background to allow people to rise their social level.
The Social mobility of Nigeria reflects the ability of a Nigerian citizen or a Nigerian family to move from one income class to another. It could also mean migrating from one social status to another in the country.
According to WEF social mobility is determined by access, quality and equity in education as well as work opportunities and good working conditions. It is also determined by quality of social protection and inclusive institutions to provide good mobility for their citizens.
The fact Nigeria’s social mobility is too poor to make the list reflects the fact that the country has a lot to do to in terms of quality of living. This is more pronounced when you consider that African countries like Tunisia (62), Ghana (70), and South Africa (72) made the cut.
Nigeria has made notable progress in different sectors that determine social mobility like health, education, access to technology, work opportunities and income over the past year.
But none more so than in technology, where the index assessed areas like use of internet. In that sector, Nigeria has grown exponentially with the latest NCC data recording 14,095,812 new subscribers, raising the total number of subscribers in the country to 126,078,999.
Also, fixed-broadband internet subscriptions, mobile broadband subscriptions, population covered by at least a 3G network, rural population with electricity access and Internet access in schools have all been on the increase.
However, for a country with a population of over 200 million, the level of broadband penetration which stands at about 37.80% and over 120 million internet users, is not sufficient enough to provide a stable platform to engender economic growth and ensure high social mobility.
The role of government in raising social mobility in the country
The WEF recommends that for a country’s social mobility index to rise, governments must play an essential role in providing access to quality education everywhere. It must also providing work opportunities and good working conditions for all citizens.
One of such actions is the actualization of the proposed minimum wage by the Government which would increase the daily income of many average families.
They should also ensure quality social protection and inclusive institutions to provide good mobility for their citizens.
According to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, the government has constituted a national broadband plan committee that is working to develop a broadband plan for Nigeria from 2020 to 2025.
He added that review of policies is in place to enable operators to perform optimally.
The role of the private sector in raising social mobility in the country
The private sector, especially the tech sector has made several innovations that could assist the government in providing and promoting sectors like health, education while providing work opportunities
Healthtech startups like 54gene a genetic biobank that stores genetic research, Lifebank, which provide lifesaving medical products to hospitals and MDaaS providing affordable medical devices to Nigerian healthcare customers have been playing major roles in improving the health sector.
In the Education sector, edutechs like Gingered which provides history solution, Cc-Hub backed Think Tank and EduFirst.ng which interacts with government to provide a better educational system have been improving the sector.
According to the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, a concerted effort of both Government and startups can create new pathways to provide socioeconomic mobility.
“The response by business and government must include a concerted effort to create new pathways to socioeconomic mobility, ensuring everyone has fair opportunities for success.”Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum
Government and private sector working together to increase the level of social mobility in the country will not only provide conditions in which Nigerians can thrive, it could also act as a lever for economic growth.
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