The recent movements in the dollar-naira exchange rate, following the removal of the currency peg, has stimulated ongoing debate in the media that South Africa has regained its position as the largest economy in Africa. The prevailing notion is that the depreciation of the naira and simultaneous appreciation of the rand against the US dollar implies that South Africa’s GDP has surpassed that of Nigeria. However, this argument needs some re-examination, given that the value of the GDP (in current US$) is sensitive to the choice of exchange rate and GDP figures used for its computation. This piece situates the present argument in the context of recent commodity market crisis and its implications for the two largest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa
Policy Brief & Alerts
OPEC weekly basket price reduced from $61.14 to $60.73 per barrel (December 1 8, 2017). Similarly, Global oil benchmark crude sold for as low as $61.22 per barrel during the week, down week-on-week by 1.8 percent. Nigerias Bonny light declined slightly by approximately 1 percent to $63.534. The fall in crude prices came after a sharp rise in U.S. inventories of refined fuel, which suggested that actual demand may be weakening5 (the EIA data shows an increase of 8.5 million barrels of stored fuel). Given that crude oil revenue remains critical to Nigerias budget performance, investments aimed at improving growth and competitiveness of other key sectors is essential to minimize distortions on budgetary expenditure.
This paper was produced as part of a larger project which was jointly financed by the UKDepartment for International Development in Nigeria (through its Policy and Knowledge facility)and the Research Committee of the World Bank.
Recently released GDP figures reveals that the three major sectors recorded positive and negative growth rates individually in 2017Q2. Firstly, Agricultural sector grew Year on Year by 3.01 percent, down from 3.39 percent in 2017Q1- driven by weaker output in crop production and Fishing sub-sectors. This is not unconnected with the planting season and the shortage of grainsfor livestock/fish respectively.