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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 July 2007, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Nigeria 'needs poverty billions'
A child plays with sand in Daruga, on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria
More than 50% of Nigerians live below the poverty line
Nigeria needs between $5bn to $7bn per annum to achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, a top Nigerian official has said.

But Amina Ibrahim, poverty adviser to the ex-president, says she thinks her country has the potential to meet the goals intended to eradicate poverty.

This month marks the half-way stage from the time the UN set the goals.

With its oil wealth, Nigeria is felt by analysts to have the best chance in West Africa of meeting the UN targets.

By 2015, it is hoped the percentage of people living on less than $1 a day should be cut by 50%.

At present, more than 50% of the population in Nigeria live below the poverty line.

'Drop in the ocean'

The BBC's World Affairs correspondent Mark Doyle says Ms Ibrahim has had one of the most challenging jobs in the world as the top anti-poverty adviser to Olusegun Obasanjo, who stepped down as president in May.

She had to overcome the corruption and historical cynicism of a Nigerian ruling class, which has rarely shown real commitment to ending poverty, he says.

Three years ago, she was given access to $1bn that Nigeria obtained through a debt relief deal to set about achieving the MDGs.

She has overseen a vast programme of health, education and social projects to reach this conclusion.

But she says even the $1bn she was working with was a "drop in the ocean".

"We've got to scale up immensely with the programmes and the projects we've got," she told the BBC.

"And we've got to find a better way to collaborate as a federal government with the other states. But yes we have the potential to meet that goal."

Nigeria's local and state governments have a lot of catching up to do with the federal administration to bring in transparency and good accounting, she says.

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