Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari starts a second term in office on Wednesday (30th May) but even in the nation’s most wealthy region, many of his country’s citizens face an uncertain future.
Rivers State produces oil and much of Nigeria’s wealth, but despite this, the region has a high unemployment rate.
Youth unemployment in the country stands at over 50%, and with a growing population, the president faces a major challenge in his second term.
In Nigeria, for example, resource exports are big enough to sustain the power and comfort of a small elite, but the general population is much too large to support a middle-class lifestyle from resource extraction alone.
Low wages mean the economy could conceivably attract labor-intensive manufacturing, but resource exports constantly threaten to push up the exchange rate to uncompetitive levels, and easy money from resource taxes often make the ruling class too complacent to make the necessary investments in health, infrastructure and education.
Because these countries are stuck at very low living standards, their fertility rates tend to be extremely high, meaning that resource revenues must be spread ever more thinly as the population explodes.