Nigeria Economy - 2021


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Economic overview

Nigeria is Sub Saharan Africa’s largest economy 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; over 62% of Nigeria's over 180 million people still live in extreme poverty.

Despite its strong fundamentals, oil-rich Nigeria has been hobbled by inadequate power supply, lack of infrastructure, delays in the passage of legislative reforms, an inefficient property registration system, restrictive trade policies, an inconsistent regulatory environment, a slow and ineffective judicial system, unreliable dispute resolution mechanisms, insecurity, and pervasive corruption. Regulatory constraints and security risks have limited new investment in oil and natural gas, and Nigeria's oil production had been contracting every year since 2012 until a slight rebound in 2017.

President BUHARI, elected in March 2015, has established a cabinet of economic ministers that includes several technocrats, and he has announced plans to increase transparency, diversify the economy away from oil, and improve fiscal management, but has taken a primarily protectionist approach that favors domestic producers at the expense of consumers. President BUHARI ran on an anti-corruption platform, and has made some headway in alleviating corruption, such as implementation of a Treasury Single Account that allows the government to better manage its resources and a more transparent government payroll and personnel system that eliminated duplicate and "ghost workers." The government also is working to develop stronger public-private partnerships for roads, agriculture, and power.

Nigeria entered recession in 2016 as a result of lower oil prices and production, exacerbated by militant attacks on oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta region, coupled with detrimental economic policies, including foreign exchange restrictions. GDP growth turned positive in 2017 as oil prices recovered and output stabilized.

Real GDP growth rate

0.8% (2017 est.)

-1.6% (2016 est.)

2.7% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 178

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

11.3% (2019 est.)

12.1% (2018 est.)

16.5% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 211

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2020)

Moody's rating: B2 (2017)

Standard & Poors rating: B- (2020)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1,032,048,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,009,748,000,000 (2018 est.)

$990.7 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 23

GDP (official exchange rate)

$475.062 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$5,136 (2019 est.)

$5,155 (2018 est.)

$5,190 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 176

Gross national saving

23.2% of GDP (2019 est.)

19.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

18.3% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 83

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 21.1% (2016 est.)

industry: 22.5% (2016 est.)

services: 56.4% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 80% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 5.8% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 14.8% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 11.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -13.2% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 56.9 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 86.2 (2020)

Trading score: 29.2 (2020)

Enforcement score: 61.5 (2020)

Agricultural products

cassava, yams, maize, oil palm fruit, rice, vegetables, sorghum, groundnuts, fruit, sweet potatoes


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

Industrial production growth rate

2.2% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126

Labor force

60.08 million (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 70%

industry: 10%

services: 20% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate

16.5% (2017 est.)

13.9% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 181

Population below poverty line

40.1% (2018 est.)

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

35.1 (2018 est.)

50.6 (1997)

country comparison to the world: 105

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.8%

highest 10%: 38.2% (2010 est.)


revenues: 12.92 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 19.54 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

3.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 220

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-1.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 99

Public debt

21.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

19.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 185

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$10.38 billion (2017 est.)

$2.714 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24


$34.545 billion (2020 est.)

$62.531 billion (2019 est.)

$60.547 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

Exports - partners

India 16%, Spain 10%, United States 7%, France 7%, Netherlands 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, scrap vessels, flexible metal tubing, cocoa beans (2019)


$32.67 billion (2017 est.)

$35.24 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Imports - partners

China 30%, Netherlands 11%, United States 6%, Belgium 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, wheat, laboratory glassware, packaged medicines (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$38.77 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$25.84 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

Debt - external

$26.847 billion (2019 est.)

$22.755 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

Exchange rates

nairas (NGN) per US dollar -

383.5 (2020 est.)

362.75 (2019 est.)

363 (2018 est.)

192.73 (2014 est.)

158.55 (2013 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Nigeria on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Nigeria 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Nigeria 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.