Nigerian statistics chief Yemi Kale said Sunday the country's economy is estimated at about $490 billion, easily topping the $384 billion figure the World Bank calculated for South Africa in 2012.
Nigeria reached the new figure for its economy, the 26th largest in the world, after taking into account such industries as airlines, telecommunications, and information technology that were not included in its last calculation in 1990. Nigeria said then it had 300,000 landline telephones, but now boasts 100 million cell phone users.
With the new data, Nigeria could replace South Africa as the continent's only representative among the Group of 20 leading global economies. But South Africa, with a much smaller population than Nigeria, has a substantially higher per capita income ($7,336 to $2,688).
The most recent poverty survey by the World Bank reported that 61 percent of Nigeria's 170 million people live on less than a dollar a day.