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UNICEF: Nigeria to lose $200bn due to armed conflicts by 2030

A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicates that Nigeria will lose an estimated $200 billion by 2030 due to armed conflict in the country.

The report titled “The economic cost of conflict in north-east Nigeria” examines the impact of conflict on the country’s economy, children, education, and food security since the beginning of the crisis.

The report said damages to infrastructure, loss of livelihoods, and displacement caused by armed conflict have adversely impacted economic growth.

According to the report, the armed conflict has crippled the country’s economy, noting that between 2008  and 2021, Nigeria lost approximately $100 billion.

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UNICEF said even if the conflict were to end now, Nigeria is estimated to lose $150 to 200 billion by 2030.

The report said the conflict in Nigeria has caused the deaths of over 2,000 children annually from 2010 to 2013, while 8,000 kids were killed in 2014 alone.

About 9,000 children were killed in 2015, while the figure declined in 2021 as 3,000 kids lost their lives in conflict, the report added.

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In 2020, there was a 21.5 percent increase in malnutrition cases in Nigeria, while 920,000 children were malnourished, 300,000 others suffered acute undernutrition in 2021.

Speaking on the report, Cristian Munduate, UNICEF representative in Nigeria, said the government needs to allocate an appropriate budget to strengthen child protection systems in the country.

“Children’s rights to protection and education have been adversely impacted by the armed conflict in north-east Nigeria that has raged on for more than 14 years,” Munduate said.

“The humanitarian crisis in this region remains fundamentally a protection crisis, compounded by challenges in the availability of and access to basic services.

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“Shockingly, grave violations of children’s rights are on the rise and education is under attack at an unimaginable level, placing children in a position of great vulnerability.

“The data collected and verified by the United Nations through the monitoring of grave violations demonstrate the compound cost in lives and futures for Nigerian children.

“Over 6,400 grave violations were verified by the United Nations in Nigeria between 2017 and 2021.

“The estimated economic cost of the conflict due to violence and grave violations perpetrated have profoundly impacted the country’s children and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.

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“So far, over the period of the conflict, cumulative losses (i.e., the losses that build up each year that the economy is damaged) have amounted to around 100 billion US dollars (US$), an indicator of the lost development opportunities suffered as a result of the conflict.

“In considering a situation in which the effects of the conflict gradually decrease over a 10-year period, the study found that substantial impacts will still be generated during this time, leading to cumulative losses in the region of US$150–200 billion in total over that period.”

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