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  • A key regional player in West Africa, Nigeria accounts for about half of West Africa’s population with approximately 202 million people and one of the largest populations of youth in the world. Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and culturally diverse federation which consists of 36 autonomous states and the Federal Capital Territory. With an abundance of natural resources, it is Africa’s biggest oil exporter, and has the largest natural gas reserves on the continent. 

    The country 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 was 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.

    Oil price volatility continues to influence Nigeria’s growth performance. Between 2000 and 2014, Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an average rate of 7% per year. Following the oil price collapse in 2014-2016, combined with negative production shocks, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate dropped to 2.7% in 2015. In 2016 during its first recession in 25 years, the economy contracted by 1.6%.

    Since 2015, economic growth remains muted. Growth averaged 1.9% in 2018 and remained stable at 2% in the first half of 2019. Domestic demand remains constrained by stagnating private consumption in the context of high inflation (11% in the first half of 2019). On the production side, growth in 2019 was primarily driven by services, particularly telecoms. Agricultural growth remains below potential due to continued insurgency in the Northeast and ongoing farmer-herdsmen conflicts. Industrial performance is mixed. Oil GDP growth is stable, while manufacturing production is expected to slow down in 2019 due to a weaker power sector performance. Food and drink output are expected to increase, likely in response to import restrictions. Construction continues to perform positively, supported by ongoing megaprojects, higher public investment in the first half of the year, and import restrictions.

    Growth is too low to lift the bottom half of the population out of poverty. The weakness of the agriculture sector weakens prospects for the rural poor, while high food inflation adversely impacts the livelihoods of the urban poor. Despite expansion in some sectors, employment creation remains weak and insufficient to absorb the fast-growing labor force, resulting in high rate of unemployment (23% in 2018), with another 20% of the labor force underemployed.  Furthermore, the instability in the North and the resulting displacement of people contribute to the high incidence of poverty in the North East.

    Without significant structural policy reforms, Nigeria’s medium-term growth is projected to remain stable around 2%. Given that the economy is expected to grow more slowly than the population, living standards are expected to worsen. Growth is constrained by a weak macroeconomic framework with high persistent inflation, multiple exchange rate windows and forex restrictions, distortionary activities by the central bank, and a lack of revenue-driven fiscal consolidation results. Rising public debt, and increasingly complex policy interventions by the central bank constrain private sector credit growth. External balances are fragile to hot money movements, and fiscal buffers are exhausted, making Nigeria’s economy vulnerable to external risks.

    The new government has the opportunity to accelerate the pace of structural reforms to build an institutional and policy framework capable of managing the volatility of the oil sector and supporting the sustained growth of the non-oil economy. Bold reforms that could have a significant impact on the economy’s trajectory are the removal of subsidies, elimination of forex and trade restrictions, greater transparency and predictability of monetary policy and increased domestic revenue mobilization. Such reforms would help raise living standards of low-income groups while increasing spending on much needed public services. The signing of the Africa Continental Trade Agreement, after extended deliberations, may also provide some positive momentum over the medium-term.


    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: Oct 13, 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: Oct 13, 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: Oct 13, 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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