British influence and control over what would become Nigeria and Africa's most populous country grew through the 19th century. A series of constitutions after World War II granted Nigeria greater autonomy. After independence in 1960, politics were marked by coups and mostly military rule, until the death of a military head of state in 1998 allowed for a political transition. In 1999, a new constitution was adopted and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The government continues to face the daunting task of institutionalizing democracy and reforming a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement. In addition, Nigeria continues to experience longstanding ethnic and religious tensions. Although both the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections were marred by significant irregularities and violence, Nigeria is currently experiencing its longest period of civilian rule since independence. The general elections of April 2007 marked the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power in the country's history and the elections of 2011 were generally regarded as credible. The 2015 election is considered the most well run in Nigeria since the return to civilian rule, with the umbrella opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, defeating the long-ruling People's Democratic Party that had governed since 1999.
Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon
natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc, arable land
Population - distribution
largest population of any African nation; significant population clusters are scattered throughout the country, with the highest density areas being in the south and southwest
English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani, over 500 additional indigenous languages
Lagos 13.123 million; Kano 3.587 million; Ibadan 3.16 million; ABUJA (capital) 2.44 million; Port Harcourt 2.343 million; Benin City 1.496 million (2015)
- Conventional long form
- Federal Republic of Nigeria
- Conventional short form
- Local long form
- Local short form
federal presidential republic
- Geographic coordinates
- 9 05 N, 7 32 E
- Time difference
- UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Nigeria is one of Sub Saharan Africa’s largest economies and relies heavily on oil as its main source of foreign exchange earnings and government revenues. Following the 2008-09 global financial crises, the banking sector was effectively recapitalized and regulation enhanced. Since then, Nigeria’s economic growth has been driven by growth in agriculture, telecommunications, and services. Economic diversification and strong growth have not translated into a significant decline in poverty levels; however, over 62% of Nigeria's 170 million people still live in extreme poverty.
- External debt stocks
- US$ 29,029,206,000
- Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
- Real Interest Rate
- Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
- Current Account Balance
- US$ -15,763,233,056
- Labor Force, Total
- Employment in Agriculture
- Employment in Industry
- Employment in Services
- Unemployment Rate
- Imports of goods and services
- US$ 50,475,462,162
- Exports of goods and services
- US$ 51,146,640,721
- Total Merchandise Trade
- FDI, net inflows
- US$ 3,128,591,679
- Commercial Service Exports
- US$ 2,729,544,157
cocoa, peanuts, cotton, palm oil, corn, rice, sorghum, millet, cassava (manioc, tapioca), yams, rubber; cattle, sheep, goats, pigs; timber; fish
crude oil, coal, tin, columbite; rubber products, wood; hides and skins, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food products, footwear, chemicals, fertilizer, printing, ceramics, steel
- petroleum and petroleum products 95%, cocoa, rubber (2012 est.)
- India 17%, Netherlands 8.9%, Spain 8.5%, Brazil 8.5%, South Africa 5.6%, France 5.4%, Japan 4.7%, Cote dIvoire 4.3%, Ghana 4.2% (2015)
- machinery, chemicals, transport equipment, manufactured goods, food and live animals
- China 25.9%, US 6.5%, Netherlands 6.1%, India 4.3% (2015)
- Country Risk Rating
- A high-risk political and economic situation and an often very difficult business environment can have a very significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is very high.
- Business Climate Rating
- The business environment is very difficult. Corporate financial information is rarely available and when available usually unreliable. The legal system makes debt collection very unpredictable. The institutional framework has very serious weaknesses. Intercompany transactions can thus be very difficult to manage in the highly risky environments rated D.
- Leading African power in GDP terms and the most populous country in Africa
- Large oil and gas reserves and major agricultural potential
- Low public and external debt levels
- Heavy reliance on oil revenues (90% of exports, 75% of tax receipts)
- Insufficient energy production/distribution capacities
- Ethnic and religious tensions
- Insecurity and corruption place a strain on the business climate
Oil production, heavily affected in 2016 by the sabotage of petroleum infrastructure by rebel movements in the Niger Delta, could rise in 2017 if the security situation in the region stabilizes. A slight rise in oil prices, combined with increased production, should therefore enable the balance of trade to make a positive contribution to growth. Construction activity, traditionally strong in Nigeria, could also pick up slightly in 2017, subject to the implementation of public investment programs, which were delayed in 2016. However, manufacturing activity is expected to continue to suffer from erratic power supplies and foreign exchange controls that are limiting imports of several categories of goods.
Private investment might be deterred by weak domestic demand and continuing relatively high interest rates (14% since July 2016), given the persistence of inflationary pressures. Household consumption is expected still to be hampered by price rises, driven by the cost of imported goods (oil and foodstuffs) and accentuated by a probable fresh devaluation of the naira.
The 2017 draft budget anticipates a 13% rise in spending, directed towards investment. The budget is based on a conservative assumption for the oil price (42.5 USD/bbl.) but a production level close to that of 2015 (2.2 million bbl. /day), contingent on a halt in attacks on installations in the Niger Delta. The government is counting on a rise in revenues from the non-oil sector, which are expected to account for 2/3 of federal budget revenues, thanks in particular to a better recovery rate. However, this target looks ambitious in the context of weak economic activity. The budget deficit is predicted to worsen in 2017, although the deterioration in the public finances could be mitigated by any devaluation, enabling an increase in the exchange value in naira of dollar-denominated oil revenues.
The current account slipped into the red in 2015; this deficit rose in 2016, but could fall in 2017. Oil exports (90% of the total) are expected to rise due to the combined effect of volume and price rises. Imports are not expected to increase strongly given sluggish domestic demand and persistent difficulties in accessing foreign currencies. However, they may rise in value if the national currency is devalued.
Downward pressures on the naira forced the central bank (CBN) to end the pegging of its currency to the dollar in June 2016, prompting an immediate 30% fall in value. The CBN retains the option to intervene in the markets and has kept in place the currency controls which were imposed in mid-2015 on around forty products, but have not prevented the continuing depreciation (nearly a further 30% against the dollar as at end-November 2016). Despite an expected rise in export revenues, the weakness of foreign capital inflows will likely continue to hold down the value of the naira. The CBN might be forced to order a fresh devaluation in 2017, to preserve its ever dwindling reserves (32 bn USD in early 2015 but less than 24 bn USD in October 2016, or around 4 months of imports).
The fall in the oil price and the effects of the depreciation have had a major impact on the banks, as shown by the rise in non-performing loans (nearly 12% in mid-2016 compared with 5% at end-2015). Some banks may be forced to close if they are not recapitalized.
The victory of Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) party in the 2015 elections saw a handover of power after the domination of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) since 1999. The new president has made the fight against corruption one of his priorities. Expectations within the population are huge with regard to the new President, particularly in this area. Overly slow implementation of reforms, but also a lack of economic progress, might fuel discontent in a population facing steep rises in prices and unemployment. Protests against the central bank were held in November 2016, demonstrating rising tensions which are potential sources of social unrest.
The security situation remains very fragile in the north-east of the country, which is prey to attacks from the radical Islamist Boko Haram movement. In the Niger Delta oil production region, oil installations are under attack from rebels fighting for resources to be shared more fairly.
Nigeria is making no real progress in terms of governance according to the World Bank's indicators, in particular concerning anti-corruption (186th out of 209 countries in 2015).