Nigeria surpasses South Africa to become the biggest economy on the continent

President Muhammadu Buhari and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa  [Twitter/@NigeriaGov]
  • Nigeria now has the biggest economy in Africa.
  • South African economy shrank by 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • Nigeria surpasses global forecasts with 2.3% in 2019.

Nigeria now has the biggest economy in Africa, as the South African economy shrank by 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019.

With this, the economy of South Africa, Nigeria’s main rival on the continent, entered a recession, in the last half of 2019 - third recession since 1994.

According to Q4 GDP figures released by SA’s Statistics office, on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020, South Africa’s economy shrank by 1.4% in the fourth quarter followed by a contraction of 0.8% recorded in Q3 last year.

Compared to Nigeria, the West African nation grew by 2.3% in 2019, compared to 1.9% in 2018.

In the fourth quarter, ending December 2019, the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) posted its strongest growth of 2.55% (year-on-year) in real terms, the highest since the 2016 recession.

Based on the naira-dollar rates in the West African nation, Nigeria’s GDP stood at $402 billion or $476 billion, while South Africa’s economy was $352 billion in 2019, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

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