On Sunday, Nigeria became Africa’s biggest economy jumping ahead of South Africa. With the rebasing of the government’s gross domestic product, the data indicated that the economy grew to $453 billion in 2012, instead of $264 billion as measured by the World Bank for that year, compared to South Africa’s which was at $384 billion in 2012. 

During a news conference, Nigeria’s chief statistician, Yemi Kale, said estimates could push the country towards  $510 billion.

“Nigeria has moved to be the largest economy by GDP size in Africa and has moved to be the 26th largest economy in the world,” finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.

“On a per capita basis, Nigeria is number 121 in the world. So, we have a total GDP size where we have moved up to 26th,” the former World Bank managing director added.

Two of the biggest money makers in Nigeria include Nollywood and its ever expanding Cellular telephone market.

But who’s actually benefiting from the money in Nigeria? It’s obviously not the people who are trying to survive on $2 a day. 

Bismarck Rewane, the head of the Lagos-based Financial Derivatives Company said the exercise could only be meaningful “if it impacts positively on the living standards of the people”.

“Nigerians will still buy petrol at the same price, they will still have the same amount in their pockets, electricity is not going to improve on Monday morning,” he said.

“So, the exercise is a journey from reality to vanity,” he added.



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  • Me

    hopefully it’s the beginning to good things. i would love to see a day when folks are choosing to move to africa for job opportunities & financial stability. & i don’t mean like s.a. where it’s run by whites. i mean black nations run by black majorities being world leaders.

    • Jenb

      Botswana and Mauritius are African countries that are very successful countries. It’s a little upsetting that these countries seem to always be left out of the conversation about Africa, but they are considered the most successful African countries. I hope good things come to Nigerian people. But I’m not going to congratulate them on being the #1 economy until I see real improvement. America is the richest country in the world, but we still have people who can’t afford food.

  • Jenb

    GDP still doesn’t mean much for the average Nigerian. I’ve been to both Nigeria and South Africa. SA is way further ahead when it comes to infrastructure, technology, and business. I hope Nigeria uses this money to push the country forward, instead of making a few people even richer. They need to get their electricity under control. You can’t be a first world or second world country when electricity is unreliable. Hopefully more African countries will start trading with each other, instead of giving all their resources to outsiders.

    • Ask_Me

      True, but poverty is still very much a problem in South Africa despite it being the most advanced. I think there needs to be a radical revolution in South Africa. That’s only way things there will get better.

    • Tonididitonem

      We are working on it thanks. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  • Sydney Morenike

    My dad is from Lagos and I want to visit Nigeria someday. However, I here how the poverty level is extremely high, and how it is an under structured and a violent place. I know I should take this information with a grain of salt, but I hope since the economy has boosted the country and the people, will begin positively benefiting from that.

    • Tonididitonem

      I’m nigerian. Born and raised moved here at 11. I go back every year. It is NOT an extremely violent place. Everywhere has bad apples.

  • Aiych

    Corruption will keep the general populace from benefitting from those economic gains. I’d say SA (and many other African countries) are way ahead of Nigeria as far as standard of living goes for the majority of their citizens.

  • Anthony

    The people of Nigeria need to unite and push the government to make their country a middle income country. When I was there, about ten years ago, the poor distribution of income was painfully obvious.