Nigeria now Africa’s biggest economy

<p>Nigeria has overtaken South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy.</p>

Nigeria now has the biggest economy in Africa, after the country ‘rebased’ its gross domestic product data (GDP). It has been 24 years since it last took measure of its economy, and this latest effort has been five years in the making.

By taking into account other industries that previously were not being recorded – such as music, film production, telecoms and information technology –    Nigeria has now taken over South Africa as the continent’s economic leader.

In 1990, when the last GDP count was made, such industries were still in their infancy. However, there has been a lot of positive development in both infrastructure and investment since.

Over the last three months, the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have authenticated the figures of the rebasing exercise.

Many overseas businesses have also flocked to the country, motivated by the opportunities that come with an emerging economy. Along with Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey, economists have noted Nigeria as a nation to look out for (collectively they are known as MINT).

Officials in the country said that the country’s GDP for 2013 came to a total of 80.3 trillion naira (approximately £307.6 billion), a substantial amount compared to previous statistics.

“The revision will have a psychological impact. It underlines to foreign investors that this country has a large consumer base. It validates the investment thesis,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s minister for economy and finance, told the Financial Times.

“The idea [of the rebasing] is not to be the biggest; the main objective is to measure the economy properly.”

There is still a lot to be achieved in Nigeria, its politicians acknowledge. Ms Okonjo-Iweala, for one, has stated that growth needs to be as fast as China, and be of a “better quality”.

Other leading economists say that while the country’s economic progress is commendable, more needs to be done to deliver better services and opportunities to those still living in poverty.

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