Thank you. My name is Don Ghostlaw and I am president of Africa Education Partnership. All the accomplishments just shown to you are that much more amazing when you consider that they were completed in the midst of increasing levels of violence and insecurity in the north. For many, many years there's been a history of Christian-Muslim violence in and around the tenth parallel, particularly where the north and south meet around Kaduna. AEP was formed to help build schools and educate students from different faiths and cultural backgrounds. AEP hopes that by learning side by side, a generation can be reached and learn to appreciate differences. When we started in 2009, Boko Haram had just formed.
In 2021 though, the socio-economic climate has changed considerably like the rest of the world. Nigeria has wrestled with coronavirus. Nigeria's economy has taken a huge hit due to low oil revenues. Northern Nigeria has several unique security challenges. Boko Haram became very aggressive; they now have caused an estimated 35,000 deaths since 2009 and they've joined forces with other jihadi focus groups. Kidnappings by Boko Haram, and banditry and kidnappings by other groups, perhaps fueled by the desperate economic conditions, have made this problem a national crisis. Farmers are unable to get to their fields as a result and when they do, they often find crops burned by radical nomadic herdsmen who want the land for their cattle to graze on.
An estimated 80 percent of the families with students at Grace International School are a part of the agricultural community and depend on farming to live. The impact of all this chaos in Nigeria is felt more in the north because wealthy families often move when living becomes difficult. In the north, church donations are down which impacts the church's ability to help the school. So here's the real picture and the real challenge and the real reason why AEP is a part of such good work in northern Nigeria.
According to the World Economic Forum, Nigeria will have the third largest population in the world by 2050, overtaking China as the second largest by 2100. Well, most major countries, including China, fret about population decline. The worry for Nigeria is about an explosion of population. The country's wealth is derived from the value of goods and services it produces annually so it stands to reason that a large productive population can be a driver of economic growth. But when the country has a large unproductive population that is growing faster than its economy, the result is falling per capita income and thus lower living standards. Unfortunately, Nigeria falls into this scenario. Currently Nigeria's GDP rate of growth averages about 1.9 percent. The population growth rate is a staggering 2.6 percent per year, resulting in a negative per capita income. What does all this mean? Some commentators assert that one problem is Nigeria's comparatively low human capital. With low human capital it is very difficult to be productive. Raising the bar is really very, very important for the World Bank. The World Bank 2019 Nigeria economic update states that about 50 percent of Nigerian workers have only a primary education or less. Thirty percent have never attended school. Just 20 percent of Nigerian adults aged 18 to 37 years that have completed primary school can actually read. That's the reason why Nigeria has a large predominantly unproductive population and that's what AEP was formed to try to solve.
Now I'll turn it over to Beth who will discuss our new donations structure for some of our current projects.
This page compiles information from outside sources, as well as AEP's own blog updates.