The Impact of an Unconditional Non-Contributory Cash Transfer Scheme on the Wellbeing of the Elderly in Ekiti State, Nigeria

Nigeria’s elderly population (65 and older) increased by 5.4 million between the end of the civil war in 1970 and 2010. It is projected to reach 11 million by 2025. An aging population is problematic because, in a country with a large informal sector like Nigeria, most have no formal employment-related pensions and must rely upon family members for their livelihood. A national social security scheme in Nigeria therefore merits consideration. This is particularly true in rural communities where the elderly population is growing particularly rapidly and high unemployment levels, especially among the youth, leave households poorer and less able to take care of ageing family members. The findings from this study provide evidence that a well-designed and implemented unconditional cash transfer scheme targeted at poor households can help strengthen household productivity and capacity for income generation. In Nigeria, there is scope to learn from the local context of this program as a basis for a program both in other states and for scaling-up to the national level.