Nigeria's Fourth National RAPID Can Guide Country's Future Development
July 7, 2017
Abuja, Nigeria – Nigeria's high fertility and rapid population growth create a number of challenges related to the future availability of resources for many sectors of the economy and threaten the country's future prosperity. On July 6, a representative of the acting president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, launched Nigeria's fourth National RAPID, an evidenced-based advocacy tool that projects the social and economic consequences of high fertility on different sectors of the economy, including labor, education, health, urbanization, and agriculture.
At the national summit, "Investing in Youth to Reap the Demographic Dividend in Nigeria," the acting president was represented by the minister of budget and national planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma. Senator Udoma unveiled the National RAPID along with Nigeria's Roadmap on Harnessing Demographic Dividend through Investment in Youth. While delivering his keynote address on behalf of the acting president, Senator Udoma emphasized the need to invest resources in young people: "Young people and not oil are the most valuable resource we have as a nation."
In his welcome address, the minister of health, Professor Isaac F. Adewole, stressed the importance of reducing Nigeria's total fertility rate, which currently stands at 5.5 births per woman. This is higher than the rates in some other sub-Saharan African countries—for example, total fertility rates in Rwanda and Gabon stand at 3.9. According to the minister, Nigeria can attain a gross domestic product/capital ratio of US$5,800 in 2050 if it works hard at managing its population.
This is where the RAPID model can inform the direction of future policy aimed at managing population growth and development. Onoriode Ezire, Nigeria's country director for the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus project, delivered a presentation on the RAPID model to show the impact of fertility on population growth over time. With the launch of the fourth National RAPID and the roadmap, Nigeria has indicated its commitment to implementing the right policies to address future population growth and sustainable development.
Key stakeholders at the meeting included representatives from the World Bank, the National Population Commission, USAID, the Population Council, UNFPA, One, the Association for Reproductive and Family Health, JHPIEGO, Pathfinder International, and various ministries, departments, and agencies.