Monday, 6 January 2014

Nigeria's international profile on the rise

Nigeria's international profile could increase as Africa's most populous country approaches GDP rebasing and is deemed one of the key emerging economies.

During the holiday period developments on Nigeria's economy have been somewhat muted, certainly compared to the contentious period culminating in the setting of the reference oil price for the budget and the actual 2014 Budget presentation by finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (and pointedly not the under-fire President Jonathan) in December. Besides the nitty-gritty of Nigeria's spending plans recent international events may emphasize its growing importance in Africa. These include the chaos in South Sudan which has not only impacted global oil prices, but place Nigeria's oil-related environmental, theft and piracy troubles in perspective. Indeed, market observers are becoming increasingly worried about the Africa-portion of global oil supply.
Nigeria - regardless of the palaver over the Obasanjo and Sanusi letters to Jonathan - is set to become Africa's officially largest economy by GDP when rebasing exercise concludes this year. It has also been included as one of the “MINTs”, or emerging economies set to become major global players in the wake of the BRICs – the other MINTs being Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey. Goldman Sachs' influential Jim O'Neill – who recently designated the MINTs amongst in a widely-publicised interview - maintains his optimism on Nigeria despite its chaotic nature, partly due to its demographics, resources and entrepreneurial spirit.
Nigeria, whose stock market was one of the world's best performing during 2013, can surely benefit from any change in perceptions and especially given its current reputation as a country where some multinationals have been reluctant to send key individuals (in less secure regions), and reputation for corruption.
For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.
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