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Nigeria Country Guide

This guide was written by Francine Carrel, Assistant Editor of Guides.Global (office@guides.global).

It was written on 29 September 2016. The law and practice in England & Wales change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.

Our guides are prepared by professionals from many countries. They are, of necessity, both brief and general and can take no account of your personal circumstances. They are intended to be a good introduction to the subject BUT ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, which our contributors will usually be happy to provide upon request.

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Introduction

flag of nigeria
Nigerian Flag

Nigeria is a huge, varied, beautiful and - sadly - very troubled country.

Though it may offer career opportunities or attractive cross-border business deals, the savvy international person will proceed with caution. Corruption is high, crime is common and the infrastructure is often awful.

Having said that, many expats who find themselves in Nigeria (usually, it has to be said, because of work) are pleasantly surprised by the country. Nigerian people are friendly, lively and inclusive. There is a certain camaraderie amongst the expat community. The cities offer plenty of entertainment.

It also may offer business and investment opportunities with high potential profit but correspondingly high levels of risk.

The current Nigerian government has promised a crackdown on the rampant corruption and crime in the country. It is early days but many are optimistic after seeing President Muhammadu Buhari's progress thus far.

The basics

The Country: Nigeria

The Nationality: Nigerian

The People: Nigerians

Languages: English is the official language, although this is mainly spoken in urban areas. Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ibibio, Edo, Fulfulde, and Kanuri are more common in rural areas.

Time Zone: UTC+1

Currency: Nigerian naira

Currency Code: NGN

ISO International Country Code: NGA

Internet Domain: .ng

Telephone Dialling Code: +234

The geography

Capital City: Abuja (population: 1,235,880)

Area: 923,768 sq km (32 out of 252 countries in the world) lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Coastline: 853km

Terrain: Varied. Mountainous in the north of the country with rolling hills and plateaux further south.

Climate: Although all of Nigeria is tropical, the climate varies regionally. Nearer the coast, for instance, seasons are far less defined than inland.

Fresh Water: Per capita consumption: 89.21 cubic metres per capita/yr (US: 1583, France: 512; Cyprus: 164; China: 410).lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

The people

Population: 186,053,386 (7 out of 252 countries in the world) lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Population growth:2.44% per year. (US: 0.77%; France: 0.45%; Turkey: 1.13%). lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Median age: 18 years

Life expectancy at Birth: 54.5 years

Urban population: 48% of total population

Expat population: 0.71% lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Religion: Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%

Ethnicity: From the CIA World Factbook:

Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups; the most populous and politically influential are: Hausa and the Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%

UN Human Development Index: 152 of 188 countries. This index attempts to measure a country's achievements in education, healthcare, wealth generation and a number of other areas. In effect, it looks at the extent to which the people in a country enjoy a long and healthy life, a good education and a decent standard of living. It is a very useful indicator of what a country will be like as a place to live. lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

UN Inequality Adjusted Human Development Index: 152 of 188 countries. This index is a list measuring the lost development potential arising from all types of inequality in a country. With perfect equality this index and the HDI would show the same result. lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Population Below Poverty Line: 70%

The medical system

The quality of healthcare in Nigeria is generally regarded as poor. There is a shortage of trained medical professionals and medical supplies, and the blood supply of the country is considered unsafe.

Health Expenditure: 3.7% of GDP (US: 17.9%; France: 11.6%; Turkey: 6.7%; China: 5.2%) lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Doctors: 0.41/1000 (US: 2.42; France: 3.38; Turkey: 1.71; China: 1.46) lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Hospital Beds: Recent data for this is unavailable. In 1970 Nigeria had 0.6 hospital beds per 1,000 people (US: 3; France: 6.6; Turkey: 2.5; China: 3.8) lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

World Health Organization ranking of health systems (last release in 2000): 187 of 191 countries

The government

The Nigerian governmental system is influenced by both the US and the UK. The President is the head of state, of government and of the multi-party system.

Laws are created by two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Any Nigerian citizen over 18 years old is allowed to vote. The BBC wrote a great article on Nigeria's most recent election, which covers much of the process.

The Peace Index

Nigeria is ranked 149 out of 163 countries included in the 2016 edition of the Vision of Humanity "Peace Index". This is just ahead of North Korea and just behind Colombia. Iceland comes first. Syria comes last. lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

The methodology used to make this index may be open to some debate but it is a good snapshot of criminality, conflict, political attitudes and military expenditure.

The Global Terrorism Index

Nigeria is ranked 3 out of the 162 countries in the 2015 edition of the "Global Terrorism Index". This is the end of the list you don't want to be on. A low number is bad. Iraq is number 1 on the list. lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

This is another interesting snapshot, from the same people.

The Legal System

Nigerian law is based on Anglo-Saxon common law, thanks to its history with Britain.

Nigeria is ranked a dismal 96 out of 102 countries included in the 2015 edition of the World Justice Project's "Rule of Law Index" (with 1 being the best). Nigeria actually ranks right at the bottom (102 of 102) when it comes to order and security and it doesn't fare much better in the corruption category.lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Nigeria also scores badly on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. Nigeria is ranked 136 out of 168 countries included in the 2015 edition of the index. They scored similarly to Bangladesh and Ukraine. Denmark is top. Somalia and North Korea are bottom.lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

The Economy:

Reforms made in the last few years have made the Nigerian economy much more promising than it used to be. Though the country is far richer than it was only a couple of decades ago, unfortunately Nigeria is struggling to use its newfound wealth to combat poverty.

Economic sectors:

Economic capital: Lagos (population disputed! Probably somewhere between 8-16 million).

GDP (purchasing power parity ('PPP'): $1.092 trillion lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

GDP per capita: $6,100. Ranks 159 out of 229 listed countries. lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

GDP Growth 2015: 2.70 Ranks 112 out of 221 listed countries. lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Inflation: 17.20% (April 2016)

Public debt: 19.98% of GDP

Unemployment: General: 13.3% (Q2 2016); Youth 24% (Q2 2016)lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Business

For a thorough overview of business opportunities in Nigeria, this PDF guide from PwC is a good (if a little biased - they have four offices in Nigeria) read.

Although rewards can be high for those who are successful, there are significant challenges to doing business in Nigeria.

Logistic hurdles include poor mobile phone signal, frustrating traffic in cities (especially Lagos) and a shortage of electric power, meaning that pretty much everybody is dependent on diesel generators (which get very expensive very quickly).

Bureaucratically, Nigeria is extremely corrupt, which can lead to difficulty when applying for things like development permission or other permits.

Nigeria ranks 169 out of 189 countries on the World Bank's "Ease of Doing Business Index" 2016. lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

As already mentioned, Nigeria scores badly on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. Nigeria is ranked 136 out of 168 countries included in the 2015 edition of the index. They scored similarly to Bangladesh and Ukraine. Denmark is top. Somalia and North Korea are bottom.lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Our Guides

Our guides contain (or soon will do) a mass of information about living, working, doing business, retiring & investing in Nigeria. Check them out here.

Acknowledgments

When preparing this factsheet we made extensive use of:

In addition we would like to thank our colleagues, contributors and readers for their invaluable input.

Readers' Comments

 

Further information?

I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.

Francine Carrel

29 September 2016


 

This guide was co-authored by John Howell (Email: John.Howell@Guides.Global or John@jhco.org. Web: www.jhco.org or www.Guides.Global)



 

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