Nigeria becomes Africa’s biggest economy as S/Africa plunges into recession

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By Shola Abayomi.

Nigeria has emerged as Africa’s biggest economy, edging out its economic rival, South Africa which currently suffers its second recession in two years.

While South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) took a downturn by 1.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019, Nigeria recorded its highest quarterly growth since the 2016 recession as its GDP grew by 2.55 per cent in Q4 2019.

The country’s economic growth also rose by 2.27 per cent in 2019, an improvement from a growth rate of 1.91 per cent in 2018.

Analysing the new development, a Bloomberg report on Tuesday disclosed that, “Nigeria’s economic growth beat forecasts in the fourth quarter, helping its economy to expand the most in four years in 2019 as oil output increased and the central bank took steps to boost credit growth. The GDP in the West African country stood at $476bn or $402bn, depending on the rate used.

“South Africa’s economy went the opposite direction. It slumped into a second recession in consecutive years, contracting more than projected in the fourth quarter as power cuts weighed on output and business confidence.”

It added, “For the full year, expansion was 0.2 per cent, the least since the global financial crisis, and even less than the central bank and government estimated. Based on an average rand-dollar exchange rate of 14.43 for the year, the GDP was $352bn.”

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