The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mrs Theresa May, has painted a grim picture of economic inequality in Nigeria and many other countries in Africa.
May, who is visiting Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa this week, made the comment in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister said many individual Nigerians were enjoying the fruits of “a resurgent economy.”
She, however, stated that 87 million Nigerians were living below $1.90 a day, making Nigeria “home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world.”.
The Prime Minister paid tributes to two great Africans: the late President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, and a former secretary of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, who died this month.
May said, “The life stories of these two great men encapsulate the ebbs and flows of history. They demonstrate just how much can be achieved over the course of a lifetime. But also that progress can never be taken for granted – the fight to secure our gains is constant.
“Mandela was born in 1918 with the world on the brink of peace from a war that was meant to end all wars. But when Annan was born just 20 years later, those dreams of a lasting peace were about to be shattered once again, claiming millions of lives, including many from this continent.
“It was in the aftermath of this devastation that the United Nations, the organisation that half a century later Annan would go on to lead, was founded. And despite false starts and mistakes along the way, global institutions and co-operation established in this period have delivered great gains for development.
“It was at the same time, that independence movements of a generation of new nations, took on a renewed urgency. People across the world won the right to self-determination, constitutions were written and countries were born.”
According to her, the embrace of free markets and free trade has acted as the greatest agent of collective human progress the world has ever seen.
She stated that in countries that had successfully embraced properly regulated market economies, life expectancy had increased and infant mortality fallen.