Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

Street Hawkers and Nigeria's One Billion Dollar Loan

Street hawkers in Nigeria should benefit from Nigeria's cabinet approving a $1 billion loan from the African Development Bank.

In November 2023, Nigeria's cabinet approved a $1 billion concessionary loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) under terms of an interest rate of 4.2% for 25 years, with an initial eight-year moratorium. 

Possibly this economic windfall will trickle down to the primarily female Nigerian street hawkers, who make up as much as 70% of informal employment in Nigeria.

This financial arrangement with the AfDB is part of Nigeria's strategy to secure funding for economic growth and employment generation. Over the years in Nigeria, street hawking or roadside trading has been a source of livelihood for millions of Nigerians but has become illegal in many Nigerian states.

Nigeria street hawking

In its simplest form, street hawking is a person who sells snacks, drinks, clothing, and many other things along the roads and from one place to the other. 

If a significant portion of the loan is allocated to projects that stimulate economic activities, such as infrastructure development or small and medium-sized enterprise support, it could lead to job creations for Street hawkers.

This, in turn, can positively impact street hawkers and others looking for employment opportunities. Street hawking is the most visible form of informal economic activity across developing countries, accounting for as much as 70% of informal employment in Nigeria. It has become the source of livelihood for many Nigerians.

Trading and illegal market laws have banned street selling since 2003. Each state in Nigeria has various regulations and laws governing street hawking. Local authorities issue permits or licenses for street vending, and certain areas may be designated as restricted or prohibited for street hawking.  

In many places, street vendors and their customers are subject to harsh penalties, such as fines exceeding $113 or imprisonment for up to six months. Despite the risks, these vendors often make only about $1.27 per day on average, working six days a week. This sheds light on the difficult economic circumstances many people face and the lengths they must go to to make ends meet.

Poverty is a significant challenge in Nigeria and many parts of the world, and finding ways to create job opportunities and improve the income-generating capacity of individuals and communities is crucial for addressing this issue. 

One approach to achieving this goal is to avoid relying on the unpredictable income of street hawking, which can be unstable and insufficient for meeting basic needs. Instead, efforts can be made to develop sustainable economic opportunities that enable individuals and communities to build stable and secure livelihoods. 

This might involve creating jobs in emerging industries, supporting small businesses, or providing training and education to help people develop the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. These steps can help lift street hawkers from poverty and promote economic stability and well-being.

The approval by Nigeria's cabinet on the $1 billion concessionary loan from the AfDB provides hope that this economic boost will benefit Nigerian street hawkers. Poverty is a big problem in Nigeria and other parts of the world, and economic growth and employment generation are very important for solving the street hawking crisis.

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