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 Economy of Nigeria - Business opportunities Economy Of Nigeria
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The petroleum-based economy of Nigeria, long hobbled by political instability, corruption, and poor macroeconomic management, is undergoing substantial economic reform under the new civilian administration. Nigeria's former military rulers failed to diversify the economy. The economy has overdependence on the capital-intensive oil sector, which provides 20% of GDP, 95% of foreign exchange earnings, and about 65% of government revenues. The largely subsistence agricultural sector has not kept up with rapid population growth, and Nigeria, once a large net exporter of food, now imports some of its food products. In 2006, Nigeria successfully convinced the Paris Club to let it buy back the bulk of its debts owed to the Paris Club for a cash payment of roughly $12 billion (USD)

Nigeria's economy is struggling to leverage the country's vast wealth in fossil fuels in order to displace the crushing poverty that affects about 57 percent of its population. Economists refer to the coexistence of vast natural resources wealth and extreme personal poverty in developing countries like Nigeria as the "resource curse". Nigeria's exports of oil and natural gas—at a time of peak prices—have enabled the country to post merchandise trade and current account surpluses in recent years. Reportedly, 80 percent of Nigeria's energy revenues flow to the government, 16 percent cover operational costs, and the remaining 4 percent go to investors. However, the World Bank has estimated that as a result of corruption 80 percent of energy revenues benefit only 1 percent of the population. During 2005 Nigeria achieved a milestone agreement with the Paris Club of lending nations to eliminate all of its bilateral external debt. Under the agreement, the lenders will forgive most of the debt, and Nigeria will pay off the remainder with a portion of its energy revenues. Outside of the energy sector, Nigeria's economy is highly inefficient. Moreover, human capital is underdeveloped—Nigeria ranked 151 out of 177 countries in the United Nations Development Index in 2004—and non-energy-related infrastructure is inadequate.

During 2003–7 Nigeria is attempting to implement an economic reform program called the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS). The purpose of NEEDS is to raise the country's standard of living through a variety of reforms, including macroeconomic stability, deregulation, liberalization, privatization, transparency, and accountability. NEEDS addresses basic deficiencies, such as the lack of freshwater for household use and irrigation, unreliable power supplies, decaying infrastructure, impediments to private enterprise, and corruption. The government hopes that NEEDS will create 7 million new jobs, diversify the economy, boost non-energy exports, increase industrial capacity utilization, and improve agricultural productivity. A related initiative on the state level is the State Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (SEEDS).

A longer-term economic development program is the United Nations (UN)-sponsored National Millennium Goals for Nigeria. Under the program, which covers the years from 2000 to 2015, Nigeria is committed to achieve a wide range of ambitious objectives involving poverty reduction, education, gender equality, health, the environment, and international development cooperation. In an update released in 2004, the UN found that Nigeria was making progress toward achieving several goals but was falling short on others. Specifically, Nigeria had advanced efforts to provide universal primary education, protect the environment, and develop a global development partnership. However, the country lagged behind on the goals of eliminating extreme poverty and hunger, reducing child and maternal mortality, and combating diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and malaria.

A prerequisite for achieving many of these worthwhile objectives is curtailing endemic corruption, which stymies development and taints Nigeria's business environment. President Olusegun Obasanjo's campaign against corruption, which includes the arrest of officials accused of misdeeds and recovering stolen funds, has won praise from the World Bank. In September 2005, Nigeria, with the assistance of the World Bank, began to recover US$458 million of illicit funds that had been deposited in Swiss banks by the late military dictator Sani Abacha, who ruled Nigeria from 1993 to 1998. However, while broad-based progress has been slow, these efforts have begun to become evident in international surveys of corruption. In fact, Nigeria's ranking has consistently improved since 2001 ranking 147 out of 180 countries in Transparency International's 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index and placed 108 out of 175 countries in the World Bank's 2006 Ease of Doing Business Index

In 2005 Nigeria imported about US$26 billion of goods. In 2004 the leading sources of imports were China (9.4 percent), the United States (8.4 percent), the United Kingdom (7.8 percent), the Netherlands (5.9 percent), France (5.4 percent), Germany (4.8 percent), and Italy (4 percent). Principal imports were manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, and food and live animals.

In 2005 Nigeria exported about US$52 billion of goods. In 2004 the leading destinations for exports were the United States (47.4 percent), Brazil (10.7 percent), and Spain (7.1 percent). In 2004 oil accounted for 95 percent of merchandise exports, and cocoa and rubber accounted for almost 60 percent of the remainder.

In 2005 Nigeria posted a US$26 billion trade surplus, corresponding to almost 20 percent of gross domestic product. In 2005 Nigeria achieved a positive current account balance of US$9.6 billion. The Nigerian currency is the naira (NGN).

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Economy Of Nigeria".
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