Economic Development in Nigeria: the Basic Needs Approach

Christopher N. Ekong, Kenneth U. Onye


This paper investigates the efficacy of Nigeria’s development policies in improving the standard of living of the people by adopting the Basic Needs Approach (BNA) to development. Relying on post-independence data, the paper placed special emphasis on the integration and cointegration properties of the variables which are prerequisite conditions for technical efficiency in measuring the parameter estimates and establishes the notion of long-run equilibrium relationship between the basic needs variable (nutrition, health, education) and the major macroeconomic policy variable employed in the study. Qualified evidence from the study indicates that government development policies as measured by its spending on health, education, agriculture and water resources have been partly effective and sub-optimal. The paper points to misapplication of funds, abandonment of projects and embezzlement of public funds as major hitches to the efficacy of development policies in entrenching improved living standard in Nigeria. We conclude that the Basic Needs Approach represents a better methodology for examining the development process and its impact on people’s welfare and recommends a more conscientious and objective implementation of Nigeria’s development policies in addition to improved funding.

Keywords: Economic Development, Nigeria, Basic Needs Approach

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