Nigeria’s economic growth has averaged about 7.4% annually over the past decade and remained robust in 2011 at 6.9%, driven by the non-oil sector, particularly telecommunications, construction, wholesale and retail trade, hotel and restaurant services, manufacturing and agriculture. Growth is projected at 6.9% and 6.6% in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
The government is expected to reach its target of getting inflation under 10% in 2013. The inflation rate fell from 13.7% in 2010 to 10.2% in 2011 following monetary policy tightening and the easing of food prices. Inflation is projected to ease to 10.1% in 2012 and 8.4% in 2013.
The economic growth has not cut poverty nor created necessary jobs. About two thirds of the population lives on less than 1 US dollar (USD) per day and the unemployment rate in 2011 was 23.9%, up from 21.1% in 2010. Unemployment in the 15-24 age group was 37.7%, and for 25-44 years, 22.4%. The government has introduced youth job creation initiatives.
A major challenge for the economy is the dilapidated state of infrastructure and the over-dependence on the oil and gas industry. These are on the government’s priority list. The authorities are trying to get the private sector involved in infrastructure development and to develop the non-oil sector.
The results of the African Development Bank’s 2011 Country Policy and Institutional Assessment show that Nigeria has undertaken important reforms particularly in public financial management to improve efficiency in resource allocation and project and programme implementation. Corruption, however, is widespread.
The government has made concerted efforts to fight corruption, especially through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corruption Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.
The country has a good chance of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on universal primary education, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, some aspects of environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development. However, the goals on poverty reduction, child mortality, maternal health and disease will be difficult to reach.