Nigeria overtakes South Africa as Africa’s largest economy

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Abuja – Nigeria recorded 89.22 per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013, making it the largest economy in Africa and 26th in the world.

The position was previously occupied by South Africa.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, stated this on Sunday in Abuja at a  press conference on “Rebasing/Re-benchmarking of Nigeria’s GDP.’’

“We did not set out to become the biggest economy in Africa. We set out to measure how much the economy has changed. And that is the outcome. Becoming the largest economy on the continent is a positive development, but it is not destination.

“The knowledge derived will help us make better policies to grow the economy and create jobs for young Nigerians,’’ the minister said.

According to her, Nigerians have worked hard to make our economy the largest in Africa, and they should be proud of the feat, but  it is also a challenge and an opportunity.

She said the results of the rebasing  would not make the challenges of poverty and unemployment disappear overnight, adding that  it was imperative to policy making.

Okonjo-Iweala said GDP estimates would also help Nigerians particularly policy makers to have better understanding of the structure and changes of the economy and serve as  better tools to grow the economy.

Earlier, Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr Yemi kale, said the results of the rebasing exercise revealed that the nominal GDP for Nigeria was larger than previously estimated.

“The rebasing exercise reveals that the nominal GDP in 2010 was reversed from N33.9 trillion to N54.2 trillion. That is an increase of 59.5 per cent.

“It was reversed from N34.4 trillion in 2011 to N63.3 trillion. That is an increase of 69.1 per cent, and from N40.5 trillion to N71.1 trillion in 2012. That is an increase of 75.58 per cent.

“We estimated that in 2013, it was reversed from N42.3 trillion to N80.3 trillion, an increase of 89.22 per cent.’’

The statistician-general said the results also revealed that in 2010, agriculture share of GDP was estimated at 23.96 per cent, compared with 30.03 per cent in the old series.

“Industry has dropped from 46.08 per cent to 25.81 per cent and service has more than doubled to over 50 per cent from 23 per cent in the old series.

“We can see that the structure of Nigerian economy has changed significantly,’’ he said.

Kale said the results of the rebasing exercise provided a more accurate picture of the structure of the Nigerian economy relative to a base year of 2010, rather than the base year of 1990 that was currently in use.

The Supervising Minister of the National Planning Commission, Mr Bashir Yuguda, underscored the credibility of the rebasing exercise, which he said was rigorously and professionally executed by a team of local and international experts.

“It is a thorough job and we are pleased with the results. The results will empower government to do more for the Nigerian people,’’ Yuguda said.

The rebasing of the national account series (which includes the GDP) is the process of replacing an old base year with a new and more recent base year.

The base year provides the reference point to which future values of the GDP are compared. (NAN)

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