Population (2021): 212.5 million
GDP (2020): US$432.30 billion
Ease of Doing Business Rank (2020): 131
Bilateral Trade with Singapore (2021): S$1.72 billion
The country overtook South Africa to become the continent’s largest economy in 2014, after rebasing its GDP calculation to more than S$688 billion.1
Nigeria’s economic growth was hampered by the pandemic; its GDP contracted by 1.9% in 2020, reversing a three-year period of consistent and moderate expansion. Youth unemployment, a long-standing challenge for Nigeria, was also exacerbated by the pandemic. Yet, the Nigerian economy remains diversified, with the non-oil sector accounting for 90.8% of real GDP in the first quarter of 2021. In addition, the mitigating measures in the Economic Sustainability Programme2 have laid the groundwork for a post-pandemic economic rebound. The International Monetary Fund projects Nigeria’s GDP growth to recover and expand through to 20253.
1 “Nigeria becomes Africa’s largest economy”, Aljazeera, 7 April 2014
2 “Bouncing Back: Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan”, Economic Sustainability Committee, 2020
3 “The Report: Nigeria 2022”, Oxford Business Group, 2022
Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, estimated at 212.5 million in 2021. This also makes it the seventh most populated country in the world. At the current urban population average growth rate of 6.5% per year, Nigeria is likely to become the third most populous nation by 2050.4
Nigeria’s population is attractive to many businesses not just because of its size, but also due to its youth. Around 90 million Nigerians are under the age of 18, giving it the third-largest youth population after India and China.5 Singapore companies should take note of the country’s sizeable population and hence available labour force, in addition to its large consumer market.
4 “Nigeria ranks seventh most populous country in the world -NPC”, Punch, 11 April 2018
5 The CIA World Fact Book 2014. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. 2013.
Nigeria has 159 oil fields and 1,481 oil wells in operation. It is the largest producer of low-sulphur “sweet crude” in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), producing around 1.9 million barrels per day (with an estimated maximum capacity of 2.5 million barrels). It is the tenth most petroleum-rich nation by size of reserves, and 70% of Nigeria’s government revenue is derived from oil.5
Besides its significant oil resources, Nigeria’s other natural resources include coal, iron ore, lead, limestone, natural gas, niobium, tin, and zinc.6 Local availability makes these cheaper in Nigeria, and an attractive prospect for relevant manufacturers.
Nonetheless, agriculture rather than oil is the base of Nigeria’s economy. 60% of its workforce is employed in this sector, and the country has 84 million hectares of arable land, of which only 40% is utilised.7
Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world, accounting for around 20% of global production8. The country has significant agricultural resources, many of which remain untapped. These include cashew nuts, cassava, cocoa beans, cotton, palm oil, rubber, and soybeans.9 Singapore companies in the agricultural or logistics industry can find opportunities for business here.
6 “Nigeria Facts and figures”, OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin 2018
7 “Opportunity for Agriculture in Nigeria”, Agriculture Nigeria
8 “Nigeria at a glance”, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
9 “Nigeria’s untapped vast agricultural resources”, Agronews, 17 March 2016
When Nigeria ranked 145th in ease of doing business in 2017, it was a jump of 24 places, up from 169th in 2016. Nigeria has reduced the role of government bureaucracy in business, and starting a company is now faster due to digitalisation. Nigeria has also increased the transparency of construction permits, by publishing regulations, fee schedules, and pre-application requirements online.10
The government is also taking steps to remove bottlenecks for businesses as it aims to be among the top 100 business-friendly countries by 2019.11 Singapore businesses and investors will find Nigeria to be increasingly accessible, as the government cultivates its pro-business and investment position.
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10 “Improving Nigeria’s Business environment to enhance economic growth”, Proshare Business, 2 March 2018
11 “Nigeria’ll be among top business-friendly countries in 2019 - Buhari”, Punch, 28 August 2016