• A key regional player in West Africa, with a population of approximately 197 million, Nigeria accounts for about 47% of West Africa’s population, and has one of the largest populations of youth in the world. A federation that consists of 36 autonomous states, Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and culturally diverse society. With an abundance of resources, it is Africa’s biggest oil exporter, and also has the largest natural gas reserves on the continent. 

    The country has recently held national elections in 2019, for the sixth consecutive time since its return to democracy in 1999. The incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari won the elections and would be sworn in for a second term on May 29, 2019. He has identified fighting corruption, increasing security, tackling unemployment, diversifying the economy, enhancing climate resilience, and boosting the living standards of Nigerians as main policy priorities his government seeks to continue to pursue in his second term up till 2023. Nigeria’s federated structure gives significant autonomy to states.

    Between 2006 and 2016, Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average rate of 5.7% per year, as volatile oil prices drove growth to a high of 8% in 2006 and to a low of -1.5% in 2016. While Nigeria’s economy has performed much better in recent years than it did during previous boom-bust oil-price cycles, such as in the late 1970s or mid-1980s, oil prices continue to dominate the country’s growth pattern.

    Moreover, the volatility of Nigeria’s growth continues to impose substantial welfare costs on Nigerian households. The onset of the oil price shock in mid-2014 confronted the government with the pivotal challenge of building an institutional and policy framework capable of managing the volatility of the oil sector and supporting the sustained growth of the non-oil economy. 

    Nigeria emerged from recession in 2017, with a growth rate of 0.8%, driven mainly by the oil sector. Growth was higher in 2018 (at 1.9%) and more broad-based; however, it still fell below the population growth rate, government projections and pre-recession levels. The oil and gas sector reverted to contraction from the second quarter of the year and the non-oil economy was thus the main driver of growth in 2018. While agriculture slowed down significantly due to conflict and weather events, non-oil, non-agricultural growth, which remained negative up to the third quarter of 2017 strengthened through 2018 - but remained weak – with services (primarily information and communications technology) resuming as the key driver.

    As the oil sector is not labor-intensive, and the non-oil economy was still relatively weak, nearly a quarter of the work force was unemployed in 2018; and another 20 percent under-employed. With 3.9 million net entrants into the labor force (now 90.5 million people) during 2018 (up to September), but virtually no growth in the stock of jobs, unemployment rose by 2.7 percentage points since end-2017, and more than doubled compared to the pre-recession levels (9.9% in Q3 of 2015).

    Economic growth is expected to hover just above 2% in 2019 and over the medium term. The oil sector is likely to stagnate in the face of regulatory uncertainty, limiting investments in the sector. Agriculture may remain affected by conflicts and climate and weather events; and the non-oil-non-agriculture will likely continue to struggle in the face of sluggish demand and constrained private sector credit growth.

    Swift focus on macroeconomic and structural reform priorities articulated in the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020) by the renewed government administration and acceleration of their implementation could immediately promote needed economic resilience and can be expected to strengthen growth further than current projections.

    Development Challenges

    While Nigeria has made some progress in socio-economic terms in recent years, its human capital development remains weak due to under-investment and the country ranked 152 of 157 countries in the World Bank’s 2018 Human Capital Index. Furthermore, the country continues to face massive developmental challenges, which include the need to reduce the dependency on oil and diversify the economy, address insufficient infrastructure, and build strong and effective institutions, as well as governance issues and public financial management systems.

    Inequality in terms of income and opportunities has been growing rapidly and has adversely affected poverty reduction. The North-South divide has widened in recent years due to the Boko Haram insurgency and a lack of economic development in the northern part of the country. Large pockets of Nigeria’s population still live in poverty, without adequate access to basic services, and could benefit from more inclusive development policies. The lack of job opportunities is at the core of the high poverty levels, of regional inequality, and of social and political unrest in the country.  

    Last Updated: Apr 09, 2019

  • The World Bank Group (WBG) continues to enjoy a strong partnership with Nigeria through a strategy to support the government in its development’s objectives to end extreme poverty and increase shared prosperity. During FY2018 and FY2019, the WBG support will focus on revenue diversification and mobilization, addressing the binding constraints for attracting private financing, and improving social services delivery for building the human capital needed for inclusive economic growth, in alignment with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

    The Country Partnership Strategy period (FY2014-FY2019) has an investment of $8.8 billion through the International Development Association (IDA) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). Nigeria has been one of the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) fastest growing portfolio and represents IFC’s fifth largest global country exposure, with a committed volume of $1.8 billion. 

    The WBG’s support for Nigeria is structured around several priorities which include promoting diversified growth and job creation with a focus on youth, women and the poor in marginalized areas and improving the quality and efficiency of social service delivery at the state level to promote social inclusion. It identifies as priority fostering macroeconomic resilience and advancing structural reforms for private sector-led, non-oil growth. This includes agricultural productivity and increased access to finance. The WBG also supports increased engagement in the climate resilient agenda.

    In the conflict-affected North-East Nigeria, the WBG is stepping up its support to addressing service delivery gaps, livelihood deficits and social cohesion issues, as well as providing support to the diversification of the economy. The Nigeria Electricity Transmission Access Project (NETAP) ($486 million) aimed at achieving a viable power sector through the rehabilitation and upgrading of Nigeria’s electricity transmission substations and lines.

    The Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) Program-for-Results ($611 million) credit aims to bring out-of-school children into the classroom, improve literacy, and strengthen accountability for results in basic education.

    Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project ($200 million) credit aims to further support the Government of Nigeria in its efforts to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers in participating states.

    Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver) ($150 million) credit aims to establish a strong foundation for mining sector development and enhance competitiveness by improving information infrastructure and knowledge, strengthening of key government institutions, and fostering of domestic investment in the sector.

    Multi-Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project for North Eastern Nigeria ($200 million) credit aims to support the Government of Nigeria’s response to the acute humanitarian and forced-displacement crisis triggered by the Boko Haram conflict in North East Nigeria.


    Last Updated: Apr 09, 2019

  • The Nigeria Country Partnership Strategy FY14-FY17 has been extended two years, through FY2019. Expected results include:

    Federal Structural Reform Agendas for Growth

    • 16% increase in power generation capacity; 8% increase in transmission capacity
    • One million solar lanterns distributed
    • Improved access of small farmers to inputs and technology and increase in their average income
    • 20,000 hectares of improved irrigation in Northern Nigeria; 2,800 hectares treated for erosion
    • Improved road access for two million people in rural areas.
    • Enhanced preparedness to respond to natural hazards, climate risks and natural disasters (resilience).
    • Additional two million micro-entrepreneurs provided with financial services.
    • Additional 100,000 loans provided to Small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
    • Increased supply of long term financing to the housing sector

    Improving the Quality and Efficiency of Social Service Delivery at the State-level

    • Increased employment readiness for youth in supported states: 100,000 youth received orientation and life skills training
    • Improved targeting of social protection and increased access of poor and vulnerable households to social and economic services
    • Improved coverage and quality of health service delivery
    • Improved learning environment and management:  Increased number of teachers in rural areas; improved learning outcomes in benefitting schools
    • A 1.3 million increase in people with access to improved water supply

    Governance and Public Sector Management:

    • Enhanced transparency on budget execution in targeted states and at the federal level
    • States that have adopted the procurement law increased from 24 in 2013 to 30 in 2017
    • Increase in public procurement contracts above threshold awarded through open competition


    Last Updated: Apr 09, 2019

  • The WBG is an active partner in donor coordination. Partners in Nigeria include: African Development Bank (AFDB); Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); European Union (EU); French Development Agency (AFD); German Agency for International Development (GIZ); German Development Bank—KfW; International Monetary Fund (IMF); Islamic Development Bank; Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); UK Department for International Development (DfID); United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and the Agencies of the United Nations, particularly the UNDP and UNICEF. 

    Last Updated: Apr 09, 2019



Nigeria: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
102 Yakubu Gowon Crescent
Opposite ECOWAS Secretariat
P.O. Box 2826, Garki
Abuja, Nigeria
For general information and inquiries
Mansir Nasir
Communications Officer
For project-related issues and complaints