Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has urged the international community not to compare Nigeria to some smaller African countries in terms of economy.
The vice president said there were 10 states in Nigeria that had bigger Gross Domestic Product (GDPs) than some African nations.
Osinbajo said this while receiving a group of Harvard Business School students at the State House in Abuja at the weekend.
In a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo said, “When they talk about the economy, we are often compared with smaller African countries, but there are 10 states in Nigeria that have bigger GDPs than those countries; it is a huge target market.”
In verifying the claim, Daily Trust checked the GDPs of the 54 African countries, including Nigeria, and compared them with the GDPs of some economically viable states in Nigeria.
GDPs of the 54 countries
Available data from World Bank based size show that Nigeria leads the continent with an accumulated GDP of $514bn.
Nigeria is closely followed by South Africa with $420bn; Egypt N404bn, Algeria N168bn; Ethiopia $111bn and Kenya with $110bn.
These top countries are followed by Ghana $77.5bn, Angola $72.5bn, Ivory Coast $69.7bn, Tanzania $67.7bn, Congo $53.96bn, Tunisia $46.8bn, Cameroon $45.2bn, Libya $41.88bn and Uganda $40bn.
Sudan has a GDP of $34bn, Senegal $27bn, Zimbabwe $26.22bn, Zambia $21.2bn, Burkina Faso $19.7bn, Mali $19.14bn, Gambia $18.27bn, Benin Republic $17.79bn, Botswana $17.61bn, Mozambique $16.1bn and Guinea $15.85bn.
Niger Republic has $14.6bn, Madagascar $14.74bn, Malawi $12.63bn, Republic of Congo 12.52bn, Equatorial Guinea $12.27bn, Namibia $12.21bn, Chad 11.78bn, Mauritius $11.16bn and Rwanda $11.07bn.
In the same vein, the World Bank statistics revealed that Togo as at December, 2021, had $8.42bn GDP; Mauritania $8.23bn; Somalia $7.29bn; Swaziland $4.9bn, Sierra Leone $4.2bn; Estwani $3.96bn, Djibouti $3.37bn; Burundi $2.9bn, Central African Republic $2.5bn; Lesotho $2.5bn and South Susan with $2.0bn.
The statistics showed that African countries with GDP below $2bn include Cape Verde $1.94bn; Guinea Bissau $1.64bn; Comoros $1.33bn; Sychelles $1.33billion; Sao Tome and Principe $0.55bn.
GDPs of economically viable Nigerian states
Checks by Daily Trust revealed that although there is no data of the current GDP of states in Nigeria, a 2017 nominal GDP report cited shows that the GDPs of 22 states stood at about $149bn out of the $375bn GDP of Nigeria.
The data, obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), revealed that the nominal GDP of the 22 states accounted for about 56 per cent of the 45 countries’ entire GDP.
The NBS report reads in part: “In 2017, the nominal GDP for the 22 states (for which data is currently available) stood at N63.8trn or 56 per cent of Nigeria’s nominal GDP in that year.
“ii. By sector, the 22 states accounted for 57, 77 and 48 per cent of agriculture, industry and services respectively at the national level.
“Among the 22 states, however, services sector accounted for 67 per cent, while agriculture accounted for 22 per cent and industry 11 per cent. Among the 22 states, the FCT had the highest GDP at N10.6trn or 17 per cent of total states’ GDP. This was followed by Akwa Ibom and Rivers states, each with eight per cent of total states’ GDP. In the FCT, services accounted for 81 per cent of GDP while industry and agriculture accounted for 18 and 10 per cent respectively.
“In Akwa Ibom, however, industry accounted for 65 per cent while services and agriculture accounted for 19 and 16 per cent respectively. Across the 22 states, the non-oil sector represented 98 per cent of total states’ GDP while the oil sector accounted for only two per cent. The six states with the highest nominal GDP in 2017: FCT, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and Anambra accounted for about 50 per cent of the total states’ GDP or 27 per cent of Nigeria’s nominal GDP in 2017.”
In comparing the GDP figures of some Nigerian states to some African countries using the last figures obtained from the NBS, it is clear that indeed the GDPs of some states are bigger than those of some countries.
For instance, the report in 2017 indicated that the GDP figures of 22 states was nominal $149bn, which represents $7bn per state.
Consequently, this shows that the GDPs of states like Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kano, Imo, Delta, Kaduna and few others as mentioned by NBS are bigger than the GDPs of some countries which have GDPs of less than $5bn.
A breakdown of these countries by Daily Trust shows that Swaziland with a GDP of $4.9bn, Sierra Leone $4.2bn, Estwani $3.96bn, Djibouti $3.37bn, Burundi $2.9bn, Central African Republic $2.5bn, Lesotho $2.5bn and South Susan $2.0bn.
Similarly, African countries with GDP below $2bn include Cape Verde $1.94bn, Guinea Bissau $1.64bn, Comoros $1.33bn, Sychelles $1.33bn and Sao Tome and Principe $0.55bn.
Experts corroborate claim
An economist and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Analytics Consulting Ltd, Dr Tope Fasua, confirmed the claim of the vice president, saying some Nigerian states had GDPs larger than some African countries.
Speaking to Daily Trust, he said, “Yes; the GDPs of Lagos, Rivers and a few other states may be larger than those of countries like Gambia and a handful of other African countries. So it is a fact.
“In 2014, Minister Okonjo Iweala informed us that the FAAC allocation of Akwa Ibom State alone was the entire budget of Liberia. And that is a fact. We could say the first eight state GDPs in Nigeria fall in that category.”
Similarly, The Chief Economic Strategist at the ECOWAS Commission, Prof Ken Ife, told Daily Trust that, “As at 2021, Nigeria’s GDP at $514b was more than 38 African countries’ put together.”
He added that, “The 10 top Nigerian states with GDP totalling $148.1bn was more than those of 24 African countries, while Lagos with GDP of $29bn was more than nine African countries’ GDP.”
Following a verification and experts’ view, Daily Trust concludes that the claim of the vice president is largely true as there are states in Nigeria that have large GDP due to their economic viability.
This Fact Check is produced in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)