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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9238
JPY
USD
119.51
GBP
USD
0.6614
CAD
USD
1.2119
INR
USD
63.562

Rates may not be current.