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Insight & Analysis - April 1, 2022

Nigeria: 5 Things to Know About Africa’s Powerless Superpower

Nigeria has been dubbed an African superpower due to its over 200 million population and enormous natural resources.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and the world’s most populous black country, plus seventh world’s most populous country. 

A large population is thought to be a source of labour, military strength, and a real or projected vast market.

Many countries, such as China and India, have made the most of their vast populations, reflected in their economic growth. 

On the other hand, Nigeria has not lived up to its African superpower moniker.

Many years back, Nigeria was arguably an African giant by all standards – in education, economy, and military might. But all that seems to be in the past.

Nigeria was home to global standard universities and graduates, but the educational system has become a shell of its former self due to a lack of priority for education at all government levels.

As a result, the country’s tertiary education standard has slipped compared to other top African colleges. 

The performance of Nigerian colleges in recent ratings both in Africa and around the world exemplifies this.

Sport is another sector in which many Nigerians take pride, owing to the country’s numerous triumphs in sports throughout the years, particularly in football. 

Nigeria’s sports sector has produced international stars, including Kanu Nwankwo, Austin’ Jay Jay’ Okocha, Chioma Ajunwa, Blessing Okagbare, and Samuel Peters. 

However, Nigerian sports performance has deteriorated recently, with the Super Eagles failing recently to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Here are 5 things to know about Nigerian, the African powerless superpower.

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1. Afrobeats 

Nigerian musicians are at the forefront of the global enthusiasm for Afrobeats.

Music stars such as Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, 2face are some of Nigeria’s most valuable exports. Their works reverberated through the international music scene enough for music conglomerates like Universal Music Group and Sony to invest in Nigerian music. 

Davido’s Fall, published in 2017, is the most successful Nigerian music video of all time, with over 200 million views on YouTube.

According to the IMF, the industry is expected to earn $10.8 billion in revenue by 2023, accounting for 1.4 percent of GDP.

Other cross-border Nigerian musicians in the Afrobeats genre are Fireboy DML, Falz, Olamide, Simi, Adekunle Gold and Patoranking.

 2. Africa’s largest economy, little electricity

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and the continent’s top oil producer, pumping out roughly two million barrels per day. But its electricity troubles have slowed expansion.

According to the International Energy Agency, Nigeria’s electricity output has gradually increased since 2000. 

It has struggled to keep up with its population growth, which has grown by nearly 57 million people since 2005. The electricity supply per Nigerian has barely changed.

Only around half of all Nigerian households have access to mains power, and there is a significant urban-rural difference.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, more than four out of every five residences in towns and cities have mains power, but only a third of homes in the countryside have. 

3. Nigeria’s population set to overtake US

There is no doubt that Nigeria’s population is rapidly increasing. According to UN forecasts, it will have surpassed the United States to become the world’s third-largest country by 2047, with 387 million people.

It is also a highly young country, with more than 40% of the 196 million people under 14. 

The enormous expansion gives the country’s entrepreneurial spirit a chance to capitalise on the economic benefit that a youthful, vibrant population may deliver.

4. Nigeria boasts of some of the world’s greatest writers

Nigerian authors have won some of the most prestigious literary awards, including dramatist Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel laureate in literature, in 1986.

‘Things Fall Apart ‘, the late Chinua Achebe’s breakthrough work, has sold 20 million copies in the six decades since its publication, cementing his reputation as a critic of European colonisation.

‘The Famished Road’ by Ben Okri received the Man Booker Prize in 1991.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a contemporary Nigerian-American feminist author, has received worldwide acclaim for work literary masterpieces, including ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, her second novel, which was adapted into a film in 2013.

5. Nigeria is a tech hub

Tech is becoming the fastest growing sector in Nigeria. In 2021, Nigerian tech startups raised $1.2 billion from mostly international investors who consider Africa’s tech industry a goldmine.

A few startups like Andela, Flutterwave and Opay became unicorns after reaching a valuation of $1 billion.

Despite the lack of funding from the government and harsh working environments, the tech hub in Nigeria continues to attract international financing from foreign venture capital firms. 

Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, is fast becoming the Silicon Valley of Africa’s tech industry. 

Due to how rapidly it is growing, it is experiencing some of the same issues that big cities like London and New York do, namely, it’s becoming prohibitively costly.

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