News / Economy

Nigerian Economy Gaining on Regional Heavyweight South Africa

A farmer plows the field in Saulawa village, on the outskirts of Nigeria's north-central state of Kaduna, May 2013 file photo. A farmer plows the field in Saulawa village, on the outskirts of Nigeria's north-central state of Kaduna, May 2013 file photo.
x
A farmer plows the field in Saulawa village, on the outskirts of Nigeria's north-central state of Kaduna, May 2013 file photo.
A farmer plows the field in Saulawa village, on the outskirts of Nigeria's north-central state of Kaduna, May 2013 file photo.
While South Africa remains the most appealing investment destination on the African continent, the economy of the continent's most populous nation, Nigeria, is growing quickly. A new survey from a major South African bank predicts that, within the next couple of years, Nigeria will be the most attractive country to investors.

For three straight years, South Africa has topped the "Where to Invest in Africa" survey done by Rand Merchant Bank, but this year the survey predicted the West African nation of Nigeria may overtake South Africa within the next two to four years.
 
Nigeria is currently the leading African oil producer.
 
The survey takes several metrics and surveys from other economic organizations into consideration.

South Africa retained first place this year, while Nigeria moved from third to second place, ahead of Egypt. The survey is meant to give investors a long view of investment in the country. Countries like Libya and Egypt, though currently facing unrest, are also included in the top 10 among African countries.

Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana, an Africa analyst with the South Africa-based Rand Merchant Bank, said, "the scoring gap between South Africa and Nigeria is narrowing quite rapidly."
 
"Now one would argue that Egypt has fallen down a couple of places because of its political unrest, but that's not necessarily the case based on our ranking. It is in fact because of Nigeria's expeditious growth rates and also its growth in market size with the potential to actually overtake South Africa in the next couple of years," continued Ramkhelawan-Bhana.

Nigeria has also made huge gains in the world rankings, climbing 35 places in the last decade to come in at 38th place. South Africa came in at 33rd place this year.

Ramkhelawan-Bhana says Nigeria already has a gigantic market thanks to its 164 million residents, and with growth in sectors like technology and agriculture, Nigeria is diversifying away from its historic dependence on oil.

That growth is likely to be bolstered further when Nigeria rebases its Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, by the end of the year.

Rebasing helps governments to adjust GDP calculations for changes in the economy, including new sectors and industries. Ghana recently rebased its GDP figures and the country's market size increased by 60%. Nigeria hasn't rebased in 17 years. The possible growth of such a rebasing has analysts excited.

"Now Nigeria's economy is about two-thirds the size of South Africa. Imagine an increase of around 60%. It will far exceed the levels that we are seeing in South Africa at the moment," said Ramkhelawan-Bhana.

So where does this leave South Africa? The country is expected to grow at a tepid 3.2% over the next five years as Nigeria grows at around 6%.

"I think it is something that South Africa should be desperately aware of. We are in a phase where we need to consolidate our gains, look at how we can spur different industries, how we can generate growth on a more sustainable basis," said Ramkhelawan-Bhana.

South Africa's economy still makes up 17% of the continent's purchasing power. However, the consumer-driven economy has suffered because of slowdowns in mining and manufacturing, labor unrest and decreased productivity.

Nevertheless, South Africa does have several large advantages over other African economies - a very strong and complex banking system and strong infrastructure, which is something Nigeria lacks.

Paul Alagidede, a professor at the University of Witwatersand's Business School, in Johannesburg, says Nigeria's growth and economic prosperity in other African nations aren't necessarily bad for South Africa.

"In terms of regional clout here, on the continent, South Africa is very well positioned to take advantage of the growth potential of other countries within the continent… Talk about Shop Rite in Ghana, in Nigeria, talk about MTN, we have Standard Bank spreading all over, so these are companies that are doing a lot of work in other countries… So the growth in other parts of Africa should be good news for South Africa, even if we are not seeing the fiscal evidence of that in South Africa itself."

That kind of continental investment is expected to increase in the future. Just last week, Famous Brands, a South African franchise group, bought a 49% stake in the Nigerian chain Mr. Bigg's.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7866
JPY
USD
109.25
GBP
USD
0.6139
CAD
USD
1.1120
INR
USD
61.428

Rates may not be current.