The purpose of this briefing note is to provide President Muhammadu Buhari with an in-depth understanding of Nigeria’s current state of affairs. In preparation for the cabinet meeting on January 13th, 2018, the following analysis will contain information relevant to Nigeria’s geographic location, political structure, social makeup, and economic position from both a national and international standpoint. Nigeria is geographically located below Sub-Saharan Africa and bordered by the Gulf of Guinea to the south. While the country typically experiences a tropical climate, there are ten distinct land regions which diversify the geographic makeup of the country. Nigeria shares four political borders: Benin to the west, Niger to the north, Chad on the northeast tip, and Cameroon to the east. Internally, the country is divided into 36 individual provinces and one territory, all of which is headed by the Nigerian Federal government.
The government itself is run by three branches: the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. Of these three, the legislative branch has a bicameral structure that allows representatives and senators from each of the 36 provinces a voice within the government. Historically, the Nigerian government fell under military control (1966-1999), up until a civilian constitution was adopted in May of 1999. In addition, Nigeria participates in the Non-Alignment Movement, electing to not side with or against any major world power blocks.
As a result, Nigeria’s military is mainly used for peacekeeping across the african continent. With an approximate population of 192 million, Nigeria is currently ranked as the 7th most populous country in the world, through the with the current population growth rate the country is expected to rise to 4th by 2050. Due to the nature of how the political borders were drawn when the country was established in 1914, the ethnic makeup of the country consists of over 250 ethnic groups. While the capital city of Abuja and the metropolitan area of Lagos house a large percentage of the population, nearly 50% of the citizens live in the rural areas of Nigeria. Though English is the country’s official language, the most commonly spoken tongues include Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba, and the national literacy rate is 78. 6%. Religion also diversifies Nigeria; 50% of the population practices Islam, 40% practice Christianity, and about 10% practice Indigenous beliefs.
Due to the wide range of belief systems as well as recent economic challenges, many socioeconomic aspects of Nigeria have deteriorated over the past few years. The country’s unemployment rate has risen from 6. 4% to 18. 8% in the past two years alone, subjecting nearly 62% of the population to moderate to extreme poverty. This uptick in unemployment has led to poor education systems, crime, and government corruption.
For example, drug trafficking in Nigeria has become one of the most globally significant criminal enterprises, having footholds in nearly 80 other countries. Although Nigeria has advanced infrastructure in comparison to the rest of the African continent, about half of the country continues with an unreliable power source, and many of the roads are unpaved and deteriorating. Historically, Nigeria’s economy has been driven by agriculture, telecommunications, and other services, but as of recent nearly 77% of the country’s exports is petroleum. The country has become dependent on its oil exports, and as a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), primarily exports to India, the United States, Spain, South Africa, and Canada. As a result, Nigeria has experienced a recent economic upturn; the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 405 billion (21st globally), though the GDP per capita remains at $5, 900. Nigeria imports goods such as electronics, medicine, and clothing, from China, the United States, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
The country’s estimated labor force is nearly 59 million.