Economic Diversification in Africa’s Number One Economy

Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa, with a GDP in excess of US$ 500 billion, dependent on oil and gas exports for the bulk of government revenues as well as foreign exchange. Its growth – which averaged about 7 per cent in the decade between 2005 and 2014 – has in recent years been driven by the non-oil sectors: services, agriculture and manufacturing. The principal challenge for the President Buhari administration, which took office in May 2015, is to build on this trend, by diversifying export income and the sources of government revenues, as well as kickstarting the long-overdue task of industrializing the Nigerian economy. One of the goals of this approach is to achieve robust, stable and predictable growth, free from short-to-medium-term cycles of boom and bust.

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