Nigeria to Lose Africa’s Largest Economy Status, Drop to Fourth—IMF

April 19, 2024
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By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria is likely to lose its status as Africa’s largest economy and drop to fourth place this year after a series of Naira devaluations, International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast show.

According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook as reported by Bloomberg, Nigeria’s estimated gross domestic product stands at $253 billion based on current prices this year.

This means Nigeria is behind North African powerhouses Algeria (3rd) at $267 billion, Egypt at $348 billion (2nd), and South Africa at $373 billion (1st).

The report added that South Africa would remain the continent’s largest economy until Egypt reclaims the mantle in 2027. Nigeria however is expected to remain in fourth place for years to come, the data released this week shows.

Nigeria has been battling economic challenges since President Bola Tinubu announced significant policy reforms including the end of the subsidy regime and the devaluation of the Naira. Despite a recent rebound, the currency is still 50 per cent weaker against the greenback than it was before taking office after two currency devaluations.

Egypt, one of the emerging world’s most-indebted countries and the IMF’s second-biggest borrower after Argentina, has also allowed its currency to float, triggering an almost 40 per cent plunge in the pound’s value against the dollar last month to attract investment.

Unlike Nigeria’s Naira and Egypt’s Pound, the value of South Africa’s Rand has long been set in the financial markets and it has lost about 4 per cent of its value against the dollar this year. Its economy is expected to benefit from improvements to its energy supply and plans to tackle logistic bottlenecks.

The lender reviewed upwards Nigeria’s economic growth forecast for 2024 from three per cent to 3.3 per cent. However, for 2025, the IMF reduced Nigeria’s economic growth forecast to 3.0 per cent, a slight decrease from the 3.1 per cent projected earlier in January.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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