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Info Africa - NIGERIA

Nigeria is located in West Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, Benin, Chad, Niger and Cameroon. It gained independence from the British in 1960. Politically, Nigeria continues to embrace civilian rule. While the government is working to reduce unemployment and poverty, it is also focusing on improving the living standards of  its population. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and it is one of the world’s largest oil producers. Abuja has been the capital city of Nigeria since 1991. Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, is the commercial and administrative centre of Nigeria. Located on Lagos Island, this city is home to the National Museum at Onikan, which has many exhibits of Nigeria’s ancient civilizations. The Craft Centre on

this island sells different kinds of Nigerian crafts. The Jankara Market on Lagos Island is a well-known market in Nigeria. People bargain for commodities ranging from hand-woven cloths and electronics to different kinds of foods. Because of the diversity in religion and tribes in Nigeria, there are various festivals that celebrate the heritage of the Nigerian people. Some festivals include the Eyo Festival, The Durbar Festival and the New Yam Festival of the Igbos. Nigeria offers a variety of water sports, water falls and national parks, such as the Yankari National Park. Most of northern Nigeria has a strong Muslim influence. Southern regions of Nigeria and some parts of non-Islamic Northern regions have developed their own cultural and artistic heritage, long before the arrival of Europeans. Interestingly, the influence of European colonialism has never been a serious threat to the traditional values of the Nigerian people. Nigeria is home to some of Africa's famous authors including Chinua Achebe, author of Things Fall Apart.

CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag: Nigeria's Flag

Three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and green

Nationality: Nigerian

Capital: Abuja

Population: 131,859,731 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 42.3%
  • 15-64 years: 54.6%
  • 65 years and over: 3.1% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 2.38% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 68% of the population is literate (male: 75.7%, female: 60.6%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%

Languages: English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani

Quick Facts
  • total: 923,768 sq km
  • land: 910,768 sq km
  • water: 13,000 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: slightly smaller than Ontario

Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc, arable land

Environmental Issues: soil degradation; rapid deforestation; urban air and water pollution; desertification; oil pollution - water, air, and soil; has suffered serious damage from oil spills; loss of arable land; rapid urbanization


Nigeria is one of Africa’s richest oil countries. Nigeria continues to struggle with political instability, corruption, inadequate infrastructure and poor macroeconomic management. All these factors affect the economic growth of the country. However, currently, Nigeria is going through changes with the new reform-minded administration. The oil sector accounts for 20% of GDP, 95% of foreign exchange earnings and 65% of budgetary revenues. It is experiencing rapid population growth as Africa’s most populous country. In the past, Nigeria used to be a large net exporter of food but now, it must import food. In 2000, Nigeria received a debt-restructuring deal from the Paris Club and a $1 billion credit from the IMF. In 2002, Nigeria did not meet some spending and exchange rate targets and became unable to be part of the IMF program and to receive anymore debt forgiveness from the Paris Club. The government has shown some political interest in implementing some market-oriented reforms recommended by the IMF. These include modernizing the banking system, curbing inflation and resolving regional disputes over the distribution of earnings from the oil sector. In 2003 the government started to deregulate fuel prices, and it announced the privatization of the country’s four oil refineries. It also instituted the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy. In 2005, the Paris Club approved to remove $30 billion worth of Nigeria’s total $37 billion external debt.

Major industries:

  • crude oil
  • coal
  • tin
  • columbite
  • palm oil
  • peanuts
  • cotton
  • rubber
  • wood
  • hides and skins
  • textiles
  • cement and other construction materials
  • food products
  • footwear
  • chemicals
  • fertilizer
  • printing
  • ceramics
  • steel
  • small commercial ship construction and repair

Agricultural products:

  • cocoa
  • peanuts
  • palm oil
  • corn
  • rice
  • sorghum
  • millet
  • cassava (tapioca)
  • yams
  • rubber
  • cattle
  • sheep
  • goats
  • pigs
  • timber
  • fish

Oil production: 2.451 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

Railways: 3,557 km

Road map: 194,394 km (paved: 60,068 km, unpaved: 134,326 km)

Currency: Naira


Telephone lines in use: 1,027,500 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 9,147,200 (2004)

Television Stations: 3 (the government controls 2 of the broadcasting stations and 15 repeater stations) (2002)

Radio Stations: AM 83, FM 36, shortwave 11 (2001)

Internet users: 1,769,700 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 5.4% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 3.6 million (2003 est.)

More Information

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