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With approximately 185 million inhabitants, Nigeria accounts for 47% of West Africa’s populace and has one of the largest populations of youth in the world with a median age of 17.9.
In response to Nigeria’s 2016 economic setbacks, the government launched the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) in March 2017. The ERGP set out broad targets ranging from macroeconomic stability to economic diversification and improving governance. The primary aim of the ERGP was to reflate the economy through spending in strategic sectors, like infrastructure, agriculture, solid minerals etc., to galvanise economic activities and empower the people.
At the end of 2017, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Adeyemi Dipeolu noted the Nigerian economy grew by 1.40% in real terms in the third quarter which is consistent with the improvements in other indicators. The business environment has shown upward movement of 24 places in the recently released World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings which was better than the target of 20 places specified in the ERGP.
As one of the leading global rating agencies, Fitch Ratings stated that Nigerian banks’ ability to access foreign currency has improved considerably since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a foreign exchange (FX) window at the end of April aimed at investors and exporters. Fitch forecasts growth of 1.5% in 2017 and 2.6% in 2018.
The recovery will be driven mainly by increased FX availability to the non-oil economy and fiscal stimulus, as higher oil revenue and various funding initiatives have raised the government’s ability to execute on capital spending plans. In April 2017, the CBN introduced the Investors & Exporters FX window and gradually introduced further measures to vastly improve dollar liquidity available.
The Nigerian wholesale and retail industry which accounts for 16.7% of GDP remains a lucrative investment opportunity on the back of a large and rising population with a rapidly increasing rate of urbanisation.
Nigeria has also seen the development of a market for luxury goods. The country’s burgeoning middle class is expected to have consumer spending in excess of USD 25billion by 2020.
Lagos State remains the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. With a population estimated at about 20 million – equivalent of 32 African Countries combined and third largest mega city in the world behind Tokyo and Mumbai.
The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode recently announced Lagos State is the sixth largest economy in Africa with a GDP of USD $131 billion.