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Nigeria’s economy is stuck in a rut says Economist

Talk that everything is expensive fills the air at a market in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Since February the minibus fare from home to the market has doubled, says Emmanuel Mokwe, who sells kitchen utensils.

So has the price of food, he adds grimly. “It’s just chaos,” says Dotun Babande, who runs a juice shop across town. Inflation is running at 18%.

For food it is 23%, the highest in two decades. More than half of Nigerians are underemployed or unemployed.

Before covid-19 about 80m of Nigeria’s 200m people lived on less than the equivalent of $1.90 a day.

The pandemic and population growth could see that figure rise to almost 100m by 2023, says the World Bank.

Nigeria’s economic woes also help explain a vertiginous rise in crime.

More people were kidnapped in the first four months of this year than all of last year, according to Jose Luengo-Cabrera of the World Bank.

This has added to worsening violence around three flashpoints: the jihadists of Boko Haram in the north-east; a long-standing conflict between farmers and cattle-herders across central Nigeria; and fighting between government forces and Igbo separatists in the south-east.

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