Economic and Political Overview

flag Nigeria Nigeria: Economic and Political Overview

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response


Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Africa’s leading economy, Nigeria - in close competition with South Africa - has a population of more than 219 million people (CIA). Worldwide, it is the 25th-largest economy by GDP volume. However, Nigeria's economy is highly dependent on oil and is therefore very vulnerable to fluctuations in crude oil prices and production. If over the past decade economic growth reached 2.5% on average, the Covid-19 pandemic and the fall in oil prices caused the economy to contract in 2020. Nevertheless, economic growth rebounded in 2021 (+3.6%) and 2022 (+3.2%) supported by a buoyant services sector and increased revenues from oil and gas exports. Crude oil production averaged 1.3 mbpd in 2022 and is expected to increase slightly to 1.4 mbpd in 2023, although the sector will continue to be affected by the combination of oil theft, pipeline vandalism, and ageing infrastructure. For 2023 and 2024, the IMF forecasts growth at 3% and 2.9%, respectively. Among the downside risks are high inflation and security issues.

Higher oil prices have brought an improvement in oil export receipts, resulting in a small surplus of the current account in 2022, from a deficit of 0.4% in 2021 (Fitch Ratings). Falling reserve levels (estimated at USD 36.3 billion in 2022, down from USD 40.2 billion one year earlier) have contributed to tight foreign-currency liquidity. The 2022 general government fiscal deficit was estimated at 6.1% of GDP by Fitch Ratings, as the subsidy on petrol cost the government approximately NGN 5 trillion (2.4% of GDP) in foregone revenue from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Lower subsidy costs and a marginal improvement in oil production should contribute to a narrowing fiscal deficit in 2023 (still above 5%). Public debt increased from an estimated 36.6% GDP in 2021 to 37.4% GDP last year and is forecast to further rise to 38.6% GDP in 2023 and 39.8% GDP in 2024 (IMF). Even if the public debt remains low, debt accumulation has increased sharply, and interest payments absorb around 40% of the country’s scarce resources (Coface). According to Fitch Ratings, the government is expected to have to repay USD 2.4 billion in external debt in 2023 and USD 2.7 billion in 2024. To meet these payments, the government will likely rely on a mix of drawing down reserves and obtaining new external borrowing, most likely through syndicated loans. Fuelled by elevated food prices, high domestic energy prices, accommodative monetary policy and import restrictions, the inflation rate has constantly exceeded the Central Bank’s inflation target range of 6% over the past few years and reached a 17-year high in 2022, at 18.9%. Over the course of the year, the monetary policy rate was increased three times by a total of 450 basis points by the CBN, and the cash reserve ratio was utilized to periodically eliminate liquidity from the domestic banking sector. Nevertheless, inflation is expected to remain high over the forecast horizon, at 17.3% this year and 12.6% in 2024, according to the IMF.
Fiscal consolidation, economic diversification, inclusive growth and security issues are the main priorities. The main obstacles to development in Nigeria are the inappropriate energy supply, deficient transport infrastructures, inefficient judiciary system, widespread corruption, together with high inflation. The gap between the official value of the naira and its value on the black market is substantial and the banking system is fragilized by the deteriorating quality of assets.

Despite the country's dynamism, the real challenge for Nigeria is the risk of a demographic explosion: according to the United Nations, the population of Nigeria could reach 730 million inhabitants in 2100. Concerns regarding this potential boom are exacerbated by the fact that half of the inhabitants live below the poverty line; pandemics are rampant (HIV, tuberculosis), infant mortality is high and the country struggles with significant levels of inequalities. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, unemployment stood at 33.3% in 2022 (42.5% for youth), and 22.8% of the active workforce is under-employed. In 2021, Nigeria returned to positive real GDP per capita growth after five years of negative per capita growth. The overall GDP per capita was estimated at USD 5,884 in 2022 by the IMF.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 477.38390.00394.94458.00524.05
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 2,2021,7551,7341,9632,192
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 39.638.841.340.340.1
Inflation Rate (%) n/a25.123.014.714.5
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) 1.022.822.351.460.92
Current Account (in % of GDP)

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

The Nigerian economy is dominated by crude oil, which accounts for half of the government revenue and more than 75% of the country's total export earnings (Coface). Nigeria is among the first ten oil exporters, and its oil reserves are estimated at 37 billion barrels (OPEC). The country also has become one of the lead exporters of liquefied natural gas, which accounts for an additional 13% of exports (ITC). The country also extracts tin ore and coal for domestic use. Nigeria’s other natural resources include iron ore, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc and arable land.

Another key sector of the Nigerian economy is agriculture, which employs 35% of the workforce and contributes to about 23.4% of the GDP (World Bank). Crop production in Nigeria is dominated by food crops such as cassava, yams, maize, rice, sorghum, and millet, which are mainly grown by small-scale farmers. Other important crops grown in the country include cocoa, palm oil, rubber, groundnut, and cotton. Nigeria is the world's largest producer of cassava and the third-largest producer of tomatoes and groundnuts. The livestock sub-sector in Nigeria includes the production of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and poultry. The sector is also characterized by small-scale farmers, and the production is mainly for subsistence and commercial purposes. Nigerian agriculture is mainly centred on subsistence farming. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the agricultural sector grew by 3.16% (year-on-year) in real terms in the first quarter of 2022, 13.8% in the second quarter, and 1.3% in the third quarter.
The industrial sector makes up 31.4% of the GDP and employs 12% of the workforce. The largest subsector in the country is the petroleum industry, which currently suffers from oil theft that is believed to cost the country potential revenues valued as much as USD 10.9 billion. Significant oil losses are also recorded due to oil spills. The total annual contribution of oil to aggregate GDP in 2022 was 5.67% (data NBS). The manufacturing sub-sector is the largest component of Nigeria's industrial sector and includes the production of textiles, food and beverages, chemicals, cement, paper, and automobiles. However, the sector has been facing challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, high production costs, and limited access to finance and raw materials. Overall, the manufacturing sector is estimated to account for 15% of GDP (World Bank). The construction industry in Nigeria is also a significant contributor to the industrial sector, driven by the demand for new infrastructure, housing, and commercial buildings. The sector has been growing rapidly in recent years, and the government has been investing in infrastructure projects such as roads, airports, and railways to support its development.

Services represent 43.8% of the GDP and employ 53% of the population. Financial sectors, telecommunications and retail especially, are very dynamic. The finance sub-sector is a significant component of Nigeria's services sector, driven by the growth of the banking industry, insurance, and capital markets. Nigeria's banking industry is one of the largest and most sophisticated in Africa, with local and international banks operating in the country. Tourism is also a significant sector, but it struggles due to the country's poor power supply, insufficient road infrastructure, and poor water quality. The Covid-19 pandemic had a huge impact on tourism as well as the entertainment industry, but vaccination programmes enabled activity to rebound in 2022. To address the challenges facing the services sector, the Nigerian government has implemented various policies and initiatives such as the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, the Nigerian Tourism Development Master Plan, and the Nigerian Postal Service Reform. These initiatives aim to promote digitalization, improve infrastructure, increase productivity, and create employment opportunities.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 35.2 12.7 52.1
Value Added (in % of GDP) 23.7 30.8 44.0
Value Added (Annual % Change) 1.9 -4.6 6.7

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Find more information about your business sector on our service Market Reports.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Nigerian Naira (NGN) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 7.138.859.029.159.07

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Find out all the exchange rates daily on our service Currency Converter.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Foreign Trade in Figures

Nigeria is relatively open to trade, which accounts for 23% of its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). The objective of Nigeria's trade policy is to promote and diversify its exports by reinforcing national competitiveness and encouraging liberalization through the reduction of subsidies. The country mainly exports petroleum oils and petroleum gas (mineral products account for 90% of total exports), and boats (3.4%); while imports are lead by mineral products (40%), machinery (16.9%), chemical products (8.6%), and vehicles (6.5% - data National Bureau of Statistics 2022).

Nigeria's main export partners are India (12.6% of total exports), Spain (12%), the Netherlands (9.6%), the U.S. (6.8%), and France (5.8%). Its main suppliers are China (22.7% of total imports), the Netherlands (10.4%), India (7.9%), the United States (5.6%), and France (2.6% - data NBS 2022). Nigeria is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has signed several regional and bilateral trade agreements. The country is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and has signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which aims to create a single market for goods and services among African countries. The Nigerian government has implemented various measures to promote exports, such as the Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and the Nigerian Export Supervision Scheme (NESS). These measures aim to encourage non-oil exports, promote value addition, and increase competitiveness. Lingering barriers to trade and investment persist in the country, mainly due to long bureaucratic delays.

Nigeria’s trade balance is structurally positive, but it occasionally turns negative when oil prices and production drop. According to World Bank data, in 2021 the trade balance was negative by 1.1% of GDP. In the same year, exports of goods amounted to USD 46.9 billion, whereas imports reached USD 51.9 billion (+32.7% and -6.7% y-o-y, respectively - WTO). Exports of services stood at USD 4 billion, while imports totalled USD 15.1 billion (WTO).
Economic recovery and higher oil revenues resulted in a trade surplus in 2022: according to figures from CBS, exports increased by 41.7% vis-à-vis 2021 to NGN 26.8 trillion while imports reached NGN 25.6 trillion (+22.8%).

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 43,00755,25735,74051,88060,351
Exports of Goods (million USD) 60,54762,53135,63446,87163,075
Imports of Services (million USD) 30,88438,71019,83316,05718,820
Exports of Services (million USD) 4,8184,9493,9933,9964,864
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 49.227.3-61.944.4n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -1.415.0-33.4-32.1n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 17.519.88.211.8n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 15.514.28.110.7n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) 20,4672,868-16,402-4,5625,998
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -5,599-30,893-32,241-16,622-7,958
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
India 12.6%
Spain 12.0%
Netherlands 9.6%
Indonesia 7.4%
United States 7.0%
See More Countries 51.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 22.7%
Netherlands 10.4%
Belgium 10.3%
India 7.9%
United States 5.6%
See More Countries 43.1%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


Main Products

63.4 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 78.7%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 11.7%
Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilisers (excl....Mineral or chemical nitrogenous fertilisers (excl. those in pellet or similar forms, or in packages with a gross weight of <= 10 kg) 3.0%
Light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, floating...Light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, floating cranes, and other vessels the navigability of which is subsidiary to their main function; floating docks, floating or submersible drilling or production platforms (excl. fishing vessels and warships) 1.0%
Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roastedCocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted 0.9%
See More Products 4.7%
60.7 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 38.9%
Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin 3.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.3%
Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances for...Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances for pipes, boiler shells, tanks, vats or the like, incl. pressure-reducing valves and thermostatically controlled valves; parts thereof 1.6%
Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in...Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose, in solid form 1.4%
See More Products 52.0%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.


Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment
Statistical Office
National Bureau of Statistics
Central Bank
Central Bank
Stock Exchange
Nigerian Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Economic Portals
Proshare Nigeria
Nigeria Galleria

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President and Head of Government: Muhammadu BUHARI (since 29 May 2015) - All Progressives Congress - Bola TINUBU is scheduled to succeed Buhari as president on 29 May 2023.
Vice President Oluyemi "Yemi" OSINBAJO (since 29 May 2015)
Next Election Dates
Presidential election: February 2027
Parliamentary election: February 2027
Main Political Parties
Nigeria's main political parties include:

- All Progressives Congress (APC): socialist; in the 2023 general election, its candidate Bola Tinubu won the presidential election
- People's Democratic Party (PDP): centre-right, typically attracts national support holding more than half of parliamentary seats
- Young Progressive Party (YPP): social democracy
- Labour Party (LP) : centre-left
- All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA): progressive
- Social Democratic Party (SDP): centre-left, moderate
- African Democratic Congress (ADC): centre-left.

Type of State
Federal presidential republic.
Executive Power
The President of the Republic is both the Head of State and Head of Government. The President is elected by popular vote for a four-year term, renewable once.
The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the Nigerian armed forces.
Legislative Power
The two-chamber National Assembly consists of the Senate (109 seats: three per state plus one for the capital Abuja), whose members are elected by popular vote for a four-year term, and the House of Representatives (360 seats), whose members are also elected by popular vote for a four-year term. Each federal state has its own legislative body and a governor elected for four years by vote. The laws vary significantly among the states, particularly due to the application of Sharia law in some of them.

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Partly Free
Political Freedom:
Civil Liberties:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Nigeria, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.


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Latest Update: December 2023