Nigeria Emerges Africa’s Largest Economy As South Africa Slides Into Recession

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Nigeria has sealed its place as Africa’s largest economy after the South African economy contracted for two consecutive quarters.

This is South Africa’s second recession in two years.

The discussion about the continent’s largest economy was previously based on whether the N306/$ official exchange rate or the N360/$ market rate was used.

Bloomberg data pegs South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) at $352 billion.

At the official N306/$ exchange rate, Nigeria’s GDP is $402 billion and at N360/$, it is $476 billion.

Joe de Beer, deputy director-general for economic statistics at Stats SA, told journalists on Tuesday that the 2019 third-quarter GDP figure was revised to a contraction of 0.8%.

“The economy is in recession again. That is two consecutive quarters of contraction, after being in recession in the first two quarters of 2018,” he told journalists.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, South Africa’s economy contracted by 1.4% and the overall GDP growth for the year was 0.2% while Nigeria’s economy recorded its biggest growth since the 2016 recession.

Nigeria’s economy surpassed projections by the International Monetary Fund, growing by 2.27% against the projected 2.1%.

In 2013, Nigeria’s economy was rebased by the National Bureau of Statistics from an estimated $270 billion to $510 billion.

This made Nigeria become one of the largest economies on the continent.

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