Global Citizen mobilises private sector to end poverty in Nigeria

In line with the United Nation’s agenda to end extreme poverty by year 2030 under the Sustainable Development Goals, Global Citizen, a global movement for citizen-led actions to eradicate poverty and improve human living conditions is working with the Nigerian private sector to harness resources to achieve the objective of ending poverty.

Co-founder of Global Citizen, Mr. Michael Sheldrick, during a ‘Global Goal Live: Nigeria Policy Forum’ in Lagos on Thursday at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi noted that the movement has created millions of positive citizens’ actions across the world to hold leaders accountable in the fight against hunger and poverty.

The co-founder revealed that despite the enormous wealth in the world, poverty is increasing in certain regions of the world especially in Africa where Nigeria as a country is projected to host 25% of the world extremely poor people in the next 15 years if urgent actions are not taken. Active citizens in the private sector and the civil society according to Mr. Sheldrick must partner with the government, which has greater responsibility, for the welfare of citizens.

Speaking on the launch of Global Citizen in South Africa in 2018 that celebrated post-humous birthday of the former anti-apartheid hero tagged ‘Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100’, Mr. Sheldrick said that the event galvanized 16 governments, eight international institutions and foundations, and 12 corporations to make financial and political commitments to work in collaborative manner to tackle poverty.

“We saw engaged citizens take over 5.65 million actions globally which resulted in 60 commitments and announcements worth $7.2billion set to affect the lives of 121 million people around the world. In South Africa, more than 400,000 people have already joined the movement and across Africa. We are happy to be in Nigeria and ready to work with private sector philanthropy and government to achieve the SDGs and end poverty,” said the co-founder who is also the Chief Policy Officer of Global Citizen.

In his remarks at the Policy Forum which focused on healthcare delivery system in Nigeria as a core component of the UN SDGs, Mr. Tunde Folawiyo, Chairman Global Citizen Nigeria said that the private sector and civil society can no longer stand aloof from addressing issues of poverty in Nigeria because failure to address extreme poverty in Nigeria will put everyone at risk.

“Nigeria is already dubbed the poverty capital of the world. And in the next 15 years, a World Bank recent report said Nigeria will host 25% of the extremely poor population of the world. That is a very worrisome statistics we must begin to work to address as a people. We cannot just stand by and do nothing.”

Vice Chairman of Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede who was the former Chief Executive of Access Bank delivered the overview of the Global Citizen’s Nigeria Policy intervention on the healthcare delivery system. Mr. Aig Imoukhuede called the attention of the participants to the state of Primary Healthcare system in Nigeria with a verdict that out of the 30,000 Primary Healthcare Centres in the country, less that 3000 are functioning well. The Vice Chairman posited that Universal Healthcare cannot be achieved without a robust Primary Healthcare system as the bedrock. He also said the Nigerian government at all levels cannot, on their own, meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals without the private sector’s involvement.

“”It is impossible for the Nigerian government on its own to meet the SDGs. The private sector and the civil society must join the efforts. Government in Nigeria only controls 10% of the entire GDP while the private sector controls 90%. This shows the strength of the private sector in our country. The private sector must work with the government to deliver the SDGs.”

At the Policy Forum, the former bank chief committed to personally build a world-class Primary Healthcare centre in each of the 774 Local Governments in Nigeria and called on other wealthy Nigerians to commit to different initiatives that will help the country to meet other objectives of the SDGs by 2030.

In Lagos on September 26, 2020, Global Citizen will stage a Global Goal Live Concert in with world class musical artistes at the Tafawa Balewa Square where over 40,000 Nigerians are expected to attend. Tickets to the concert according to Mr. Aig-Imoukhuede cannot be purchased and it will not be free.

He said of the concert, “What it means is that to qualify for a ticket to the concert, Nigerians – old and young are expected to carry out some community and citizen-led actions towards eradicating poverty and achieving any of the Sustainable Development Goals. Six months to September next year, that will be March 2020, Global Citizen will announce the mechanics for participation at the Concert and we will start full blast publicity and awareness. It is all about raising over voices as citizens and calling on our governments to do more to end poverty.”

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire attended the Policy Forum. She used her panel discussion session to talk about Federal Government’s work to eradicate poverty in the country adding that a national framework in line with the Economic Recovery Growth Plan had been launched which is being mainstreamed into the sub-national governments for adoption.

“We are working with the state and local governments because that is where the people are. We are happy to collaborate and work with Global Citizen eradicate poverty in our country. I want to also commend Mr. Folawiyo and Aig-Imoukhuede for leading the private sector efforts. It is only when we the public and private sectors work together we can solve the problem of poverty of our people,” she concluded.



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