Nigerian Minister: Economy to be biggest in Africa

Categories: Events , Featured , IGD In the News , IGD News

By Doug Palmer | 10 March 2014, 5:56 PM EDT

Nigeria’s trade minister today touted his country’s potential for U.S. investors, predicting that it would soon surpass South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy.

“Today, Nigeria is the second largest economy in Africa, but only for now,” Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga, said ahead of a meeting tomorrow with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to discuss ways to increase bilateral trade and investment. “Before the end of this year, maybe in the next two months, it will be the largest economy.”

The rapidly growing nation of 167 million people is already the seventh most populous country in the world, Aganga said in remarks at a conference organized by the Initiative for Global Development. Nigeria also is the seventh largest producer of crude oil and fifth largest supplier of that product to the United States, but it wants to diversify its economy because history shows no country can succeed just exporting raw materials, he said.

Nigeria’s annual growth has averaged almost 7 percent over the last decade, driven mainly by agriculture, trade, telecommunications and infrastructure projects, the IGD said in materials handed out at the conference.

At the same time, those growth sectors have challenged by infrastructure problems, mismanagement, transparency and security issues, the group said.

— Doug Palmer