Nigeria economy

Nigeria’s insurance sector is growing rapidly and has low levels of penetration in a young society inhabiting Africa’s largest economy. Add to this what a recent Fitch Rating report calls an environment “ripe for consolidation” and it becomes easy to see why foreign insurance groups are eyeing the market keenly.

The March 2014 Fitch report says “foreign investors in the Nigerian insurance market have shown a preference for acquisition or partnership above setting up new insurance operations”. This preference is down to a need for local knowledge, a good distribution footprint and the ability to achieve scale quickly. Continue reading »

Nigeria has overtaken South Africa to become Africa’s largest economy after the government released updated figures that raised the country’s gross domestic product by 89 per cent to $509bn.

The re-calculation rightly put most Nigerian officials in celebratory mood. But Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the country’s finance minister (pictured), offered also a cautious note: the new figures do highlight some acute problems. Continue reading »

In a world of shrinking liquidity, sub-Sahara African governments are finding little room to manoeuvre in stimulating their cooling economies as investors and ratings agencies take a much harder line on state excesses.

With growth prospects improving in developed markets and questions being raised about the fate of emerging markets – especially with growing evidence of a bigger than expected Chinese slowdown – investors have started to write off large swathes of the developing world. Continue reading »

From an economic viewpoint, Africa’s most populous country, with about 173m people, is moving in the right direction, as the FT’s bumper Investing in Nigeria special report shows. Growth remains strong, at more than 6 per cent. Nigeria is set to overhaul its ways of calculating GDP, for the first time since 1990, to reflect more recent developments, which should bring it closer to overtaking South Africa as Africa’s biggest economy. Inflation is down to single-digits and government debt remains modest. Continue reading »

Mining country?

It’s well known that Nigeria’s oil industry is going through a rough patch – and one that’s likely to get rougher as a US shale boom revolutionises the global energy market. The government has noticed too and is setting its sights on other sectors as future sources of economic growth. Mining is high on the list. Continue reading »

Nigeria’s central bank has held its policy interest rate at 12 per cent for the 12th consecutive month. Can anything make it budge?

Analysts seem to think not. There are three factors that will keep rates locked: inflation, the naira and reserves. Continue reading »

It’s a busy time for Nigerian finance ministry officials. This week they celebrated the launch of eurobonds worth $1bn. On Monday they’re off to China to sign off on $3bn of loans from the government in Beijing.

What’s with all the borrowing? In a word: infrastructure. Continue reading »

The railway linking Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, to Kano, the country’s second largest city, has reopened after more than 10 years thanks to Chinese loans and investment. Xan Rice, the FT’s West Africa correspondent, makes the 31-hour journey and asks whether the train line is a sign of progress in Africa’s second biggest economy.

The head of Shell’s Nigerian oil unit has warned that Africa’s largest oil producing country is in crisis as a result of a “significant upsurge” in oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

Making the comments on Sunday following an aerial survey of its operations, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria’s managing director Mutiu Sunmonu said the company was losing 60,000 barrels of oil a day as a result of theft, the heaviest losses in three years. Continue reading »

A Total platform in the Niger deltaNigeria’s long-delayed 2013 budget was finally signed off on Monday by president Goodluck Jonathan, ending months of disagreements between the executive and legislature over spending plans.

A key sticking point has been setting the benchmark oil price, which determines how much the government can spend and how much it must save. The spenders have won, though concerns will linger over optimistic assumptions about the health of Nigeria’s oil industry. Continue reading »

Is the honeymoon of the unofficial Africa-China wedding over?

Last week, the Nigerian Central Bank voiced its discontent about the unfavorable trade balance with China – and made it clear Nigeria was already looking elsewhere for friendship (and maybe more). Continue reading »

Nigeria’s economy remains hooked on oil revenues, but its government is hoping agriculture might help ween it off. Around Davos this week, president Goodluck Jonathan has been talking up the sector, announcing production increases of 8m tonnes during 2012. This sounds impressive, but behind the numbers lie an array of problems. Continue reading »

The EM debt rally is pushing some countries into new territory. Nigeria’s public finances have received a boost on Wednesday with its borrowing costs at auction hitting record lows.

N30bn ($190m) of 10 year government bonds were sold with an 11.9 per cent yield, with investor inflows pushing the naira higher to build upon the strong gains made by the west African oil exporter’s currency this year. Continue reading »

With painful irony, oil-rich Nigeria is unable to supply its own population with electricity. The country ranked 178th of 185 economies on access to electricity for new businesses in the World Bank’s latest “Doing Business” publication.

Infrastructure is, not surprisingly, a key to the country’s future development, as an FT Special Report sets out. Continue reading »

Nigeria’s economy grew 6.5 per cent in the third quarter, slightly up from 6.4 per cent in the previous period. Continue reading »