A key regional player in West Africa, with approximately 184 million inhabitants, Nigeria accounts for 47 percent of West Africa’s population, and has one of the largest population of youth in the world.
A federation that consists of 36 autonomous states, Nigeria is a multi- culturally diverse society. With an abundance of resources, it is Africa’s biggest oil exporter, and has the largest natural gas reserves on the continent.
According to the World Bank, between 2006 and 2016, Nigeria’s GDP grew at an average rate of 5.7 percent per year, as volatile oil prices drove growth to a high of 8 percent in 2006 and to a low of -1.5 percent in 2016.
While Nigeria’s economy has performed much better in recent years than it did during previous boom-bust oil-price cycles, such as in the late 1970s or mid-1980s, oil prices continue to dominate the country’s growth pattern.
After contracting for five consecutive quarters, the economy has returned to growth in the second quarter of 2017. With a renewed focus on economic diversification, promoting growth in the private sector and driving job growth, GDP grew by 0.6 percent (year-on-year) in the second quarter of 2017, driven by recovering oil production and some recovery in non-oil industries, too, and modest growth in agriculture.
Economic growth is expected to have remained positive in the second half of 2017, averaging about 1.0 percent for 2017; driven by the continued recovery of oil production, sustained growth in agriculture, and the positive impact on investment and other private sector activities from the improved availability of foreign exchange to support imports.
As the government begins to implement the structural reforms outlined in its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017–2020, growth can be expected to strengthen further in the medium term, reaching about 2.3 percent by 2019.
Nigeria has made significant progress in socio-economic terms over the last 15 years. Between 2005 and 2015, Nigeria’s Human Development Index value increased by 13.1 percent.
However, the country continues to face massive developmental challenges, which include reducing the dependency on oil and diversifying the economy, addressing insufficient infrastructure, and building strong and effective institutions, as well as governance issues, public financial management systems, human development indicators, and the living conditions of the population.