- West Africa Population: 140,003,542 as at 2006, estimated by The National Population Commission (NPC)
- Area Total: 910,770 km 2 Coast Line: 853 km
- Capital: Abuja
- Climate: Equatorial in south, tropical in center, arid in north
- Major Languages: English (official) Hausa Yoruba Ibo
- Currency: 1 Naira (?) = 100 Kobo
- National Day: Independence Day, 1 October (1960)
- Government: Three-tier structure - A Federal Government, 36 State Governments, 768 Local Government Administrations and 6 Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.
- Main Religions: Traditional Beliefs, Christianity, Islam
- Main Commercial/Industrial Cities: Lagos, Onitsha, Kano, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Aba, Maiduguri, Jos, Kaduna, Warri, Benin, Calabar
- Major Industrial Complexes: Refineries and Petro-Chemicals: Kaduna, Warri, Port Harcourt, Eleme. Iron and Steel: Ajaokuta, Warri, Oshogbo, Katsina, Jos. Fertilizer: Onne- Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Minna, Kano Liquified Natural Gas : Bonny Aluminium Smelter: Ikot Abasi, Port Harcourt
- Main Ports: Lagos (Apapa, Tin-can Island), Warri, Port Harcourt, Onne Deep Sea and Hub Port, Calabar (EPZ) Main Airports: Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Enugu, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Ilorin, Jos, Owerri, Calabar, Yola, Sokoto
- Road Network: Over 15,000 km of intercity all weather paved roads, including dual carriage express trunks. Railways: 2 main lines (South-West to North-East; South-East to North-West) inter-linked and terminatory at Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kaura Namoda, Maiduguri and Nguru. Major junctions at Kaduna, Kafanchan, Zaria. Gauge: 1067mm; Total length 3505 route km.
- Energy: Hydroelectric; Kainji, Jebba, Shiroro. Thermal and Gas; Egbin (Lagos), Ughelli, Afam, Sapele, National grid for electricity distribution; National pipeline network with regional depots for petroleum products distribution; National network (pipeline) for distribution of gas (under construction).
- Resources Agricultural, Mineral and Marine
Nigeria, in addition to its huge population is endowed with significant agricultural, mineral, marine and forest resources. Its multiple vegetation zones, plentiful rain, surface water and underground water resources and moderate climatic extremes, allow for production of diverse food and cash crops. Over 60 per cent of the population is involved in the production of the food crops such as cassava, maize, rice, yams, various beans and legumes, soya, sorghum, ginger, onions, tomatoes, melons and vegetable. The main cash crops are cocoa, cotton, groundnuts, oil palm and rubber. Extractions from these for export and local industrial use include cocoa flour and butter, rubber crumb, vegetable oil, cotton fibre and yarn. The rain forests have been well exploited for timber and wood products of exotic and popular species. Oil and Gas, by value, are the most important minerals. They are exploited and produced in the Niger Delta basin and offshore on the continental shelf and in the deep-sea of the territorial waters. Nevertheless, there are significant non-oil mineral deposits on land many of which have been identified and evaluated: coal, iron ore, gypsum, kaolin, phosphates, lime -stone, marble, columbine, barite and gold.
With a population of over 140 million people, Nigeria is obviously the largest market in sub Saharan Africa with reasonably skilled and potential work force for the efficient and effective management of investment projects within the country. It is well connected by a wide network of motor able all-season roads, railway tracks, inland waterways, maritime and air transportation. Nigeria's economy could be aptly described as most promising. It is a mixed economy and accommodates all corners, individuals, corporate organisations and government agencies, to invest in almost all range of economic activities. Since 1995, the Government has introduced some bold economic measures, which have had a salutary effect on the economy by halting the declining growth in the productive sectors and putting a stop to galloping inflation; they have reduced the debt burden, stabilised the exchange rate of the Naira and corrected the balance of payments disequilibrium. In Successive budgets, since May 1999 when civil rule was restored to the country, Government put in place some fiscal measures, which addressed the exchange rate regime and the capital flight issue, which hitherto inhibited project planning and execution. The policy of expanded production through guided deregulation has paid off with the economy recording a real growth of over 3.2% of GDP. The rate of inflation declined appreciably.
Background of the Nigerian Economy
Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa, with a GDP greater than USD 500 billion and steadily grew to over 7 percent per annum between 2005 and 2014, but this growth has been slower in 2015. This growth was driven primarily by the non-oil sectors, such as financial services, telecommunications, entertainment, etc. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows have been strong, averaging USD2 billion per quarter since 2013, with over 70percent of this in the non-oil sectors. Nigeria’s economy is actually more diversified than it seems, with the Oil sector contributing only about 14percent to GDP. Nevertheless, we ought to be doing more to diversify with the significant natural and human resources with which Nigeria is blessed. There is no doubt that Oil has contributed substantially to Nigeria’s revenue since its discovery in 1956 and more especially, since 1970 when its price was on the upward trend. Yet, oil receipts and their management have challenged governance to the core over time in Nigeria. Deeper economic diversification is an urgent necessity to undertake structural transformation, buffer the domestic economy from externally transmitted shocks and accelerate growth accompanied by job creation.
Current Diversification Efforts
The task ahead of further diversification of the economy is enormous, which is not taken for granted. There are three categories or sectors that the present administration has put in effort in diversifying the economy:
- First, the Telecommunications sector: we have seen an increase in the number of telephone lines available in the country from about four hundred thousand (400,000) lines in 2001 to over one hundred and forty million (140,000,000) lines currently, because of the deregulation policy of the government. According to the Nigerian Communication Commission, the operators in the sector have created over one million – direct and indirect jobs and helped to attract over $USD twenty five billion ($USD25 BN). The success of the telecommunication sector, especially mobile telephony, has helped develop other ancillary sectors like e-commerce, entertainment (what we call Nollywood), among others. The World Trade Organization has recognized the standards being set by the Nigerian entertainment industry Nollywood and has reflected it on the Programme Cover for this Round Table.
- Second, the financial services sector: We have seen the strong growth of the financial services sector since the liberalization exercise that started in 1990. The exercise continued in 2005, with the guidance of the financial regulatory body Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and there were market-led mergers and acquisitions that reduced the number of banks from eighty-nine (89) to twenty-four. The banks came out of the exercise bigger, with better corporate governance and have now started to operate across Africa, financing larger transactions. The market-led business combinations served as a catalyst for the stock exchange’s growth, which has grown to a market capitalization of over fifty billion dollars (USD$50 BN).
- Third, the cement sector. In spite of the abundant supply of limestone, the major constituent for making cement, Nigeria primarily imported the product for our building needs. The government however implemented a backward integration agenda that has now translated the country from being a net importer to a net exporter of the product.