First, some backstory.
Since its inception in 1945, the United Nations has always been very hands-on with global social and economic growth so it came as no surprise when the organization proposed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. 193 governments agreed to the accords and they all set their sight on the global goals to be achieved by 2030.
The organization outlined 17 different but far from individual goals that the participating countries should strive to achieve in the following 15 years. Some of these goals tackle poverty, hunger, education, gender inequality and so on. The goals interconnect and strive to create a better future for everybody.
You can read more about the SDGs here.
Goal 1 of the SDGs considered by some to be the most important goal seeks to get a handle on global poverty. Goal 1 cannot be achieved without looking at Goal 10: Reducing inequality. According to an article published by the Guardian, half of the world’s wealth is in the hands of its 1%.
Another article by actionagainsthunger.org reports that over 700 million people worldwide are currently living in extreme poverty. All of this put together explains the importance of Goal 10 which (among other things) seeks to reduce the gap between the richest and the poorest.
In 2017, Development Finance International in collaboration with Oxfam crunched the numbers and released what they called the Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index. Based on data from governments and institutions like the International Labor Organization, it put together a list of countries that are doing the most to tackle financial inequality, and countries that are doing the least.
You can read more about the CRI Index’s processes here: https://actions.oxfam.org/international/inequality-index/petition/
The 2017 list ranked 152 countries based on the index’s three key factors and determined how much each country was doing to curb inequality a year after they’d all committed to the SDGs. The most committed countries according to the list were Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Germany at numbers 1 to 5. The countries doing the least were Nigeria, Bahrain, Myanmar, Albania and Panama at numbers 152 to 148.
A refreshed list was published last year with most of the former countries remaining at the top and Nigeria ranked in last place for the second year in a row.
Last year’s DFI and Oxfam report had this to say about Nigeria’s situation:
“Nigeria has the unenviable distinction of being at the bottom of the Index for the second year running. Its social spending (on health, education and social protection) is shamefully low, which is reflected in very poor social outcomes for its citizens. One in 10 children in Nigeria does not reach their fifth birthday,25 and more than 10 million children do not go to school. Sixty percent of these are girls.27 The CRI Index shows that in the past year Nigeria has seen an increase in the number of labour rights violations. The minimum wage has not increased since 2011. Social spending has stagnated. The CRI Index shows that there is still significant potential for Nigeria to raise and collect more tax, so it scores very badly on this aspect too. There have however been very recent improvements in this area in 2018, which will show up in next year’s CRI. The IMF has given clear advice on the importance of tackling inequality, referring to Nigeria’s score in the CRI Index. The president of the country has also said that tackling inequality is important, as inequality leads to political instability. Yet little has been done”.
It is a position no country wants to be in but one we seem to have settled in. There is a lot of work to be done in this area and every other aspect tackled by the SDGs so I urge everyone to join the fight against social injustice. Only good things can come of it. Make sure to check back here for an updated CRI Index report when it is published later this year.
Onwuchekwa Emmanuel is a creative writer, media and tech enthusiast.