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 »
Nigeria’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 »
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.
Nigeria got an upgrade and new coverage of its sovereign debt this week as S&P upped it to BB- and Moody’s opened its rating at the equivalent level. This leaves Nigeria rated by all three major agencies at three notches from investment grade.
The move gave bond yields another reason to fall on Thursday. The question is – can they go any further? Continue reading »
A strong market rally and improved regulation could tempt up to 20 companies to list on the $54bn Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2013, according to its chief executive officer Oscar Onyema.
The NSE has struggled since a crash in 2008 wiped more than two-thirds off the value of the All-Share Index and damaged investor confidence. Since 2009 there have been only a handful of small listings, compared to 88 between 2006 and 2008.
Africa’s not big enough for Aliko Dangote, Nigeria’s richest man. Dangote is planning to take Dangote Cement, his flagship company, into the rest of the world – starting with Iraq and Myanmar, where plant construction could begin next year.
After that, Indonesia, Brazil and Chile are all on the list, with Dangote planning to reach 60m tonnes of annual production outside Africa, on top of 40m within the continent – and so achieve a target of 100m tonnes of annual output “in the next five years”. If that sounds ambitious, it’s no more remarkable than what the Nigerian billionaire has already done. Continue reading »
Joining the club can bring a whole new bunch of friends. In the case of Nigeria, which last month was admitted by JP Morgan to its emerging market Government Bond Index with effect from October, it means a lots of new overseas investors – and borrowing costs dropping off a cliff.
But that doesn’t mean everything is rosy. Inflation is still stubbornly high, above the single-digit target, and the central bank is expected to hold interest rates on Tuesday. Continue reading »
Three of Nigeria’s states are grappling over a newly-developed oil field that would bring the winner a much-needed boost in tax revenues.
While the dispute concerns less than 3 per cent of the country’s crude production of over 2m barrels of oil a day, establishing control could make a big difference to the cash flows of the states involved – and their political patrons. Continue reading »
Africa’s oil and gas industry has gained a lot of new players in recent times, but Nigeria remains by far the biggest producer on the continent. Pumping oil for over 50 years, it still has three times more in reserves than its nearest rival Angola. Its gas reserves could supply the EU for 11 years. However, as a new FT Special Report shows, a range of problems prevent Nigeria realising the potential of these endowments. Continue reading »
Good news from Nigeria, if growth is your thing. The economy grew by 7.68 per cent in the last quarter of 2011, according to the national bureau of statistics. Of the 46 countries that have published Q4 GDP figures to date, only two, Mongolia and China, reported higher growth, says the NBS report. It concluded that Africa’s most populous country remains on track to be among the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020.
So how do ordinary Nigerians feel about this? Perplexed, most likely. For while the economy is growing, so too is poverty. Continue reading »
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