A few weeks ago, the magazine “Der Spiegel” said that Nigeria was “sinking in a vortex of barely comprehensible atrocities, terror, ethnic and religious conflicts”. This was a typical example of Africa reporting that is one-sidedly focused on the negative and also sharply exaggerated.
This kind of reporting has shaped a distorted image in Europe: Africa, the continent of crises and catastrophes. Yes, there are certainly huge problems in many regions – including Nigeria. Apart from conflicts, the special challenges at present include high interest and inflation rates.
But at the same time, there are positive developments that give reason for hope and expose apocalyptic reporting as one-sided. This is also shown by a neutral view on Nigeria:
Economy. According to a forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 3.2 per cent this year – after 3.0 per cent last year. For 2024, the experts expect a growth rate of 2.9 percent.
GDP per capita is expected to increase from the equivalent of 2086 to 2312 dollars this year. For comparison: in 2005, it was only 1250 dollars. The Nigerian economy has thus made significant progress.
Population. According to the World Bank, there are currently 214 million people living in Nigeria – and the trend is still upwards, partly because average life expectancy has risen from 49 to 53 years since 2005. However, the rate at which the population is growing has fallen to 2.4 percent per year recently. By 2032, experts expect a decline to 2.1 percent, not least because of a falling birth rate. Currently, a woman has 5.1 children on average.
The percentage of Nigerians who have access to electricity has risen from 47 percent in 2005 to 55.4 percent recently. Internet access is now available to 36 percent of the population (2010: 12 percent).
Governance. On Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index, Nigeria ranks 150th out of 180. With 24 points, the country is far below the global average of 43 and has made no progress in recent years.
Opportunities. Nigeria has a young, digital-savvy population with considerable entrepreneurial spirit; Lagos has become a start-up centre. The export business should benefit from new trade agreements, for example with the UK.
In addition, Nigeria has kick-started some major infrastructure projects and could benefit from a demographic dividend sooner than expected.