Nigeria’s oil sector dominates 95% of the West African nation’s export-oriented economy.
Once a big food exporter, Nigeria now depends on imports for much of its subsistence. Traditional Nigerian agricultural products include cassava (tapioca), cocoa, corn, fish, livestock, palm oil, peanuts, sorghum (cereal grass & syrup), timber and yams. Some 60% of Nigerian workers have jobs in agriculture where much poverty exists.
Nigeria is home to smaller manufacturing facilities for vehicles, t-shirts and processed foods. Leather and textile industries are found in the Nigerian cities of Abeokuta, Kano, Lagos and Onitsha.
Nigeria has no mining industry, despite having large mineral deposits including coal, tin, iron, lead and zinc.
Nigeria’s Top Export Partners
Nigeria’s economy generated US$59 billion worth of exports in 2006, up 37.1% from 2005.
The following trade partners consumed the highest percentage of Nigerian exports (based on 2005 statistics).
- United States … 52.5% of total Nigerian exports
- Spain … 8.2%
- Brazil … 6.1%
Nigeria’s Top Import Partners
Nigeria imported $30.4 billion worth of products in 2006, up almost 40% from the prior year.
Listed below are countries providing the most imports to Nigeria’s economy (based on 2005 statistics).
- China … 10.4% of total Nigerian imports
- United States … 7.3%
- United Kingdom … 6.7%
- Netherlands … 6%
- France … 5.9%
- Brazil … 4.3%
- Germany … 4.2%
Merchandise Trade between Nigeria & U.S.
Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that America was by far Nigeria’s largest trade partner in 2006. The two nations traded about $30.1 billion in products that the Census Bureau tracks.
According to Census Bureau statistics, petroleum products accounted for over 99% of Nigeria’s $27.9 billion worth of exports to the U.S.
Nigeria bought $2.2 billion worth of imports from the U.S. in 2006, an annual increase of 37.6%. Nigeria’s top import from the U.S. in 2006 was $458.5 million in wheat.
Perhaps more revealing are statistics showing that last year Nigeria imported $128.6 million in telecommunications equipment (up 71.4%), $17.8 million in computers (up 49.4%) and $19 million in computer accessories (up 32%). More people in this West African nation are starting to use computers to conduct online businesses and e-commerce projects via Internet portals like nigeria.com and onlinenigeria.com.
Nigeria’s 150 million people, 250 languages and 36 states can now come together at websites that translate Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and natural resources into showcases for:
- Online exhibitions of Nigerian art and history
- Photography displays of Nigerian life and people
- African music, clothing and other Nigerian wares for sale on online auctions like eBay
- Nigerian tourist attractions ranging from hills, waterfalls, springs, lakes and mountains
- Nigeria vacations in Lagos or at Chammah Park, Obudu Ranch, Rayfield Resort and Whispering Palms.
The Internet also enables a new class of entrepreneurs to train and educate Nigerians, giving them practical computer skills like those required for online publishing. In turn, more effective online education and communication can improve the poor health care and general living conditions in today’s Nigeria.
Nigerian writers can profit by detailing Nigeria’s underdeveloped mining industry, thus stimulating world trade in the West African nation’s large deposits in such commodities as coal and tin.
Foreign oil companies make billions of dollars in profits from Nigerian oil each year. If only these same companies would invest just a small fraction of that money to educate Nigerian workers with skills that would enable their families to benefit from Nigeria’s rich resources in international trade. If so, the world would see far fewer oil-related strikes and much less violence from a country with the potential to become Africa’s richest.