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
Latest figures of FDI flows to Nigeria show a decline of 27 per cent from $4.7 billion in 2014 to $3.4 billion in 20152, representing its lowest value since 2005. This decline is largely attributed to the oil price slump, which has generally increased uncertainty in the economy, with adverse effects on investors confidence. The fall in FDI flows was witnessed in most resource based economies in Africa, as FDI flows to the continent fell by 31 percent in 2015. The forex controls in place in Nigeria has also exacerbated the uncertainty in economy, and created obstacles for both domestic and foreign investors. Thus a review of the forex restrictions could send positive signals to investors.
This study investigates the effects of merchandise trade and investment flows on the transmission of business cycles between members of ECOWAS and the major trading partnersbetween 1985 and 2014. Total trade and FDI significantly influence the transmission of business cycles with elasticities of 1.1% and 0.7%, respectively in the long run. There are little variations across the major trading partners and other measures of trade flows. Intra-industry trade flows with all partners, EU and USA influences the cross-country business cycles with elasticities of 1.0%, 0.5% and 1.8%, respectively.