Nigeria Becomes Largest Economy in Africa with $590.9 Billion GDP

Nigeria has become the largest economy in Africa and 26th largest in the world following the rebasing of its Gross Domestic Product from 1990 to 2010 constant prices. Following the recalculation, the Statistician General of the Federation announced on Friday, April 4 that the country’s GDP emerged at $590.9 billion in 2013 up from $285.56 billion, an 89.2% increase. Accordingly, Nigeria’s GDP per capita has almost doubled from $1,437 to $2,688. The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, confirmed that the highest global best practices were followed in the exercise. The next rebasing exercise is expected in 2016.

The new figures show a significant shift in the country’s economic structure, reflecting expected structural change in the growth phases. The share of agriculture declined from 33% to 22%, services increased from 26% to 51%, manufacturing increased from 2% to 7%, and mining (including oil) declined from 39% to 20%. New sectors such as the entertainment (including Nollywood) and telecommunication accounted for 8.7% and 1.4% of GDP, respectively. These suggest that the economy is reflecting a structural shift toward a higher phase of growth where the share of agriculture declines while services increase.

On the relevance of this exercise to the country, Okonjo-Iweala said, “The information provides us with much more scope to know what the structure of the economy is. There were some sectors that were not even mentioned in our GDP. For instance, the Statistician General said that the whole of Nollywood as well as most of the creative industries were outside our GDP. So how do you now help them if you don’t know their size or how they are growing? The information for the creative industries will help us very much because they are growing and creating jobs. From almost 0.0 %, they are now 1.2% of GDP, which is significant.”

The African Development Bank joined the World Bank and the IMF in providing very helpful technical assistance to the Government of Nigeria throughout the rebasing process to ensure the results are credible, reliable and follow best global practice.

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