Africa's giant without a school diploma

Nigeria has four years left to achieve United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The country has committed to ensuring universal primary education by 2015. But the forecasts for this are bleak.

They dash through the streets of Lagos holding a sponge and a small bottle of dishwashing liquid. The little boys who clean the windows without being asked and at lightning speed and demand a few naira for doing so are a horror to every motorist. Those small beggars in the Muslim-majority north are similarly unpopular: They stand at traffic lights, roadsides and bus stations in torn T-shirts, holding filthy plastic bowls and asking for money and food. And all this at the best time of the morning – they should actually be in school.

Particularly alarming in Nigeria: reportedly up to twelve million children do not go to school. But there are also concerns about the explosive population growth and resistance to any form of family planning.