This guide was written by Francine Carrel, Assistant Editor of Guides.Global (email@example.com).
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 Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.
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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 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
Capital City: Abuja (population: 1,235,880)
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.
Median age: 18 years
Life expectancy at Birth: 54.5 years
Urban population: 48% of total population
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.
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.
Population Below Poverty Line: 70%
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.
World Health Organization ranking of health systems (last release in 2000): 187 of 191 countries
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is another interesting snapshot, from the same people.
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.
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.
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.
Natural resources: in particular, crude oil, iron ore, tin, columbite, coal, niobium, lead, zinc and bauxite
Agriculture: largely cattle and cocoa
Services: financial and other services are crippled by stringent regulations and a high cost of doing business, although there are signs of improvement
Economic capital: Lagos (population disputed! Probably somewhere between 8-16 million).
Inflation: 17.20% (April 2016)
Public debt: 19.98% of GDP
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.
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.
Our guides contain (or soon will do) a mass of information about living, working, doing business, retiring & investing in Nigeria. Check them out here.
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.
I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.Francine Carrel 29 September 2016
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