Nigeria’s human capital crisis-COVID-19

Nigeria's Human Capital Crisis during COVID-19: Impact on Health, Education, and Workforce. Learn how the pandemic has affected Nigeria's human capital and what measures are needed for recovery.

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Human capital is key to Nigeria's poverty-reduction aims. Several poverty reasons are considered in "A Better Future for All Nigerians: Nigeria Poverty Assessment 2022." Health, nutrition, and education build human capital.


Nigeria's human capital was low before COVID-19. 2020 Human Capital Index: A Nigerian child born in 2020 will be 36% as productive given full health and education (HCI). Sub-Saharan Africa average: 40%. Six countries have lower HCIs.

During the outbreak, 10-year-olds' reading and math skills improved. Learning poverty impacts up to 70% of pupils in low- and middle-income countries, but Nigeria lacks statistics.

COVID-19 threatens Nigeria's workforce. Since the initial COVID-19 case on February 27, 2020, the country has had at least four waves of disease, peaking in June 2020, January 2021, August 2021, and January 2022. Africa, Europe, and Asia had more instances than Nigeria.


COVID-19's impact on health and education might affect Nigeria's human capital. Lockdowns and the outbreak may have discouraged patients from accessing hospitals. Outpatient consultations and child immunizations declined during the outbreak. High-frequency data from the Nigeria COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (NLPS) verify this message, showing that in July 2020, 21% of households with children 0-5 who needed immunizations couldn't get them.

COVID-19 endangers education. 2020 school closures reduced older children's attendance following returning (Figure 1). Economic shocks caused parents to take children out of school to work, increasing dropout. Nigerian students lost 0.29 learning-adjusted years of study due to greater dropouts and inadequate school closure mitigation.

COVID-19's uneven access to remote learning concerns learning inequity. Non-poor students have more TV, computers, telephones, and tablets for remote study.


Poor kids had fewer distant learning possibilities.

Nigeria must rebuild its human capital after COVID-19. This means expanding immunisation; COVID-19's bigger consequences on human capital, livelihoods, and welfare can only be addressed if the health hazard is under control. Handwashing and masking can only go so far. 13% of Nigerians were COVID-19-vaccinated in May 2022. In the second phase of the NLPS, rural underprivileged Nigerians have lower immunisation rates since they don't know where to acquire them. Nigeria's vaccination campaign faces COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

Human capital restoration requires recovering pandemic-related learning deficits. Nigerians urge increasing school hours and in-person learning to help kids catch up. Encourage children to return to school. Given the pandemic's unpredictability, poor families need remote options if schools close again. Texting parents and teachers or radio broadcasts may reach the impoverished.

Children from poor households lagged behind during COVID-19, therefore the curriculum may need to be altered to ensure catch-up and avoid learning imbalance. Overly ambitious curriculum might cause learning deficiencies to accumulate. Teaching at the Right Level analyses children's requirements and adapts education.

Policies to develop human capital can't function in a vacuum; restoring Nigeria's labour market after COVID-19 will help use young Nigerians' talents and capacities. Human capital may promote inclusive growth, eliminate poverty, and better Nigerians' prospects.

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