Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy and is home to the largest population in Africa with 182.2 million people. Progress has been made in achieving political stability however significant risk in operating in several parts of Nigeria remains an issue. Nigeria’s economy is dominated by oil export governed by minor rich elites. Nigeria ranks low according to the World Bank’s ease of doing business index with a ranking of 169 out of 189 countries which resembles a regulatory environment which is less conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm.



182.2 mill.

(% of population)

48 %

Corruption Perception Index

26 / Rank 136

Income per Capita

2820 USD

Income Distribution (gini index)

43 (2010)

Tourism contribution to GDP

1.6 %

Annual growth rate

2.7 %

Wholesale & retail sector (% of GDP)

24 % (2014)

Travel Turist industry growth forecast

5.8 %

Import 2015

Trading partner - EXPORT

India 14.5%, Netherlands 10.2%, Spain 9.3%

Main export of goods (USD):

Petroleum oils, petroleum oils non-crude, natual rubber, natural gas, ethylene

Export 2015

Trading partner - IMPORT

China 22%, US 10.4%, Belgium 7.2%

Main import of goods (USD):

Motor cars engine cylinder, semi milled rice, wheat and meslin, raw cane sugar, motor cars cylinder


Sources:  World Bank, AfDB, CIA Factbook & Transparency International

  1. World Bank: Population, Income pr. Capita (current USD 2015), Annual growth rate (2015), Urbanization (% of population), Income distribution (Gini index of 0 represents a perfectly equal distribution of income, where all income recipients receive the same income. The greater inequality, the higher the gini index. If the gini-index is 100, one person earns the entire income in the economy. ), Poverty at 1,25/day
  2. AfDB 2011: Middle class distribution: Middle class with floating class ($2-20 per day) / Middle class without floating class ($4-20 per day)
  3. Transparency International 2014: Corruption Perception Index (a scale from 0-100, where 0 means the country is highly corrupt and a 100 mean that a country is perceived as very clean). The ranking is out of 168 countries.
  4. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015, World Bank
  5. World Integrated Trade Solutions, World Bank 2015: Trading partners, main imports and exports of goods

The political climate

The political climate is stabile. Power can shift without major and/or any violence, which indicates a growing democratic stability. Traditionally, the presidency will swift between a Northerner and a Southerner to secure ethnic and religious stability. The state channels its wealth to its 37 states and 774 local government areas each functioning as gatekeepers implying state coffers are chronically low. In some parts of Nigeria operations will be constrained due to unrest and violence; In the North Boko Haram continues to carry out terror attacks and drought continues to cause widespread unrest and poverty. In the South piracy continues to cause problems along the Gulf of Guinea. The pirates are mostly interested in cargo, mainly oil. The most dangerous location is the Niger Delta.

According to Transparency International’s Corruptions Perception Index, which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide, Nigeria ranks 136 out of 168 countries with a score of 26. This is a sign of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens need.

for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens need.

Primary production

Most of Nigerian export is related to its oil production. This has caused a deprived agricultural sector and a high dependency on food imports. The agricultural sector is faced with soil depletion due to lack of access to irrigation and fertilizers. It is estimated that Nigeria has 84 million hectares of arable land but only 40 percent of this is under cultivation. Nigeria has one of the best rainfall supplies on the continent due to the tropical climate in the West African region.  Cassava, Yams, Sorghum, Maize and Millet are the most produced agricultural products. Nigeria has comparative advantage in both vegetable production and fisheries (capture fishery and aquaculture). In the livestock sector, the state has farm estates for commercial production of pigs and the potential for cattle fattening dairy farming is high.

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)  Food imports (& GDP)  Food exports (% GDP) 
21 (2015)  17 (2014)  2 (2014) 


Due to the instability caused by Boko Haram the state has allocated more funds to cover military expenses than to the deprived agricultural sector. President Muhammadu Buhari has in august 2015 declared the time has come for Nigerians to do more than pay mere lip service to agriculture, as crude oil and gas exports will no longer be sufficient as Nigeria's major revenue earner. The President will work in cooperation with consulting organisations like IFAD (the International Fund for Agricultural Development), to develop a programme to advance productivity of farmers. In 2012 the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), based on prior Minister of Agriculture Akin Adesina’s Ph.d., was launched to support earlier president Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda. The goal of the ATA is to build commodity value chains and the institutions required to unlock Nigeria’s huge agricultural potentials with targeted outcomes of adding 20 million tonnes of food to the domestic food supply by 2015, create 3.4 million jobs and ensuring import substitution through the acceleration of production of local staples; aimed at reducing dependence on food imports and turning Nigeria into a net food exporter. This would be done by deregulating seed and fertilizer sectors, marketing reforms to structure markets, innovative financing models for agriculture and through the creation of a new agricultural investment framework. Prior Nigerian Minister of Agriculture Akin Adesina was in May 2015 elected president of the African Development Bank. No successor has been appointed.

Commercial insights


1 out of 4 African is Nigerian implying a large Nigerian market which is dominated by a youthful population and a rapid urbanization. It is estimated that up to 18 % of urban households, equivalent to 2 million consumers, earn USD 10.000 or more annually. According to a regional analysis of consumers in Nigeria it has been discovered that consumption patterns differ within Nigeria; in Lagos 50 % of consumers are quick to decide on a purchase without seeking additional information, while only 25 % do so in Abuja, 45 % of consumers in Lagos are open to try new things, while only 18 % in Kano agree with that statement. The growth of the urban elite creates a market for more luxury goods.

Informal channels are still dominant and the domestic retail scene ranges from small shops in rural areas to multi-million-dollar Western-style malls in the larger cities. The wholesale & retail sector accounted for 24 % of the economy’s GDP in 2014 and was in 2013 experiencing a growth rate of 13.3 %. According to the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Nigeria received N205 billion (around US$1.3 billion) worth of investment in its retail sector from 2012-2013. Seven larger malls already exist in the major urban areas where we find KFC, Apple, Wrangler, ShopRite and Spar and international store openings are growing by 36 percent a year, albeit from a low base. The biggest issue restraining faster formalization is lack of available real estate. Although only a tiny section of retail trade is formal at present, the advantages of shopping in supermarkets and convenience stores have become increasingly apparent to domestic consumers.

Wholesale & retail sector (% of GDP) Retail growth 
 24% (2014) 13,3 % (2013) 

The Nigerian society is extremely hierarchical and people accept social orders. Centralization of power is the norm in organizations and the ideal boss is a benevolent autocrat. Nigeria is a highly collectivistic society which is manifested in a close long-term commitment to the ‘member group’. This implies that loyalty is paramount and overrules most other societal rules and regulations. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group; in a collectivist society offence leads to shame and loss of face. Employer/employee relationships are perceived in moral terms (like a family link). As Nigeria is rated high in terms of the masculinity index managers are expected to be decisive and assertive. Nigeria scores low in terms of long term orientation which implies that the culture is more normative than pragmatic. In normative societies there is a great respect for traditions, a relatively small propensity to save for the future and a focus on achieving quick results.  Furthermore, Nigerian culture is very indulgent. Nigerians will tend to place a high degree of importance on leisure time, acting after pleasure and spending money as they wish.  Nigeria is religious and ethnic divided.


Traders within Nigeria are faced with high costs, delays and uncertainties. Major hindrances are faced on a daily basis by traders on transport corridors. Unjustified charges and barriers along the Lagos-Kano corridor, the main channel for domestic, regional and international trade in Nigeria, can increase transport and related costs by around 18 percent. Military roadblocks and checkpoints increases as vehicles go north. Passing Kano and going towards the Nigerian border at Jibiya there can be as many as one roadblock every two kilometres. Truck owners must pay a license each year to operate, the estimated costs are around USD 360 per year. More than their amount, the issue is that several of these licenses are imposed in Successive States/Local Government areas, and are not mutually recognized between administrative authorities and must be renewed annually in each locality. Under the proposed 2016 budget the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari plans invest heavily on infrastructure development. The major seaport in Nigeria is the Bonny Inshore Terminal, Calabar and Lagos.

Paved roads (% of total) total network (railways km)  Mobile Cellular subscribers (per 100 people)  Airports with paved runways 
 15 (2016) 3528 (2007)  78 (2014)  40 (2013) 


Tourism contributes to 1.6 percent of the GDP and the sector is expected to grow with 5.8 percent the next years. Nigeria has some basic infrastructure for tourism but still face market failures pertaining to regulation, resources, and institutions, which also affect the macro economy.

Middle class distribution (millions)

Religion (percentage)

Reports of interest

The Danish Embassy in Nigeria


The Danish Ambassador to Nigeria is Torben A. Gettermann. 


The Embassy of Denmark, Nigeria

157 Adetokunbu Ademola Crescent, Wuse II

Abuja, Nigeria


Tlf: +234 990 366 35


Click here to visit the website of the Embassy