Nigeria's poverty rate should be falling faster given its economic growth this decade, an official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said.
The share of citizens in Africa's most populous country of more than 160 million who are considered poor fell to 62.6 percent in 2010 from 64.2 percent in 2004, figures published by the World Bank show.
The economy of Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, expanded an average 7.2 percent a year during the same period, according to IMF estimates. The country is forecast to grow 7.2 percent this year, compared with a global growth rate of 3.3 percent, according to the IMF.
"It's a bit of a conundrum," W. Scott Rogers, the senior resident representative of the IMF in Nigeria, said in a May 16 interview in Abuja, the capital. "Income per capita has gone up yet poverty isn't improving and we're having a difficult time understanding why that is or how that could be."
Economic growth has been largely driven by the non-oil industries, which expanded an average 8.5 percent a year from 2003 to 2011, the IMF said in a May 10 report, citing figures from the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics. Oil accounts for about 15 percent of the country's GDP.