What are the key development areas in Nigeria?

31 May 2022

ABiQ outlines some of the key development areas in Nigeria.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil exporter and biggest economy. In 2021, Nigeria’s GDP amounted to 441.5 billion U.S. dollars, the highest GDP in Africa. Nigeria is number 28 in the world in terms of GDP size, and yet  the country has the highest number of people living in poverty.

The unemployment rate in Nigeria is currently 33 percent. The Nigerian poverty rate ranks at around 40 percent. Nigeria has approximately 83 million people  living in poverty. Nearly half the population is under 30, while its mortality rate remains among the world’s highest. 

What are some key development areas that could improve the livelihoods of the Nigerian population?

The economy 

Nigeria is the world’s second largest receiver of international aid. Its high debt levels (due to unsteady oil and gas revenue flows) saw it introduce austerity measures that raised the GDP:Debt ratio. Debt repayment commitments increased within the national budget, diminishing direct investment into the Nigerian people.

The demographic explosion also threatens the economy. The UN estimates the Nigerian population to reach 730 million by 2100. This is a large concern when 50% live below the poverty line.

Nigeria needs to focus on transitioning to an economic model that utilises its incredibly large, young population and abundant natural resources to support growth and reduce poverty.

Sustainable development 

It appears that the UN Sustainable Development Goals number 1 (SDG #1) (no poverty), SDG #2 (zero hunger), SDG #3 (good health & well-being), SDG #4 (quality education) and SDG #8 (decent work and economic growth) are far off-target in Nigeria.

Among other things, health and education are key to the development of any country. Nigeria ranked 168 of 173 in the 2020 World Bank human capital index. This context suggests that Nigeria loses a great deal of human capital through poor education and an inefficient healthcare system.


Nigeria is one of the most corrupt countries in Africa. In 2021, the country ranked 154th in the 180 countries listed in Transparency International’s Corruption Index. There’s no doubt that the corruption issues within Nigerian governance hinder the country’s economic transformation.

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For more information on the Nigerian economy contact ABiQ today.

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