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publié dans Revue Grain de sel le 1 février 2011

The Nigerian Giant, an Imposing Neighbour

Jean François Sempéré

Nigeria

Vous lisez un article de la publication "51: Special Issue: Nigeria".

By its size and population Nigeria is almost a subcontinent in and of itself. The country continues to have one of the most dynamic economies in Africa, with GDP growth of around 6% in 2009. The effects of the international crisis have been felt, however, with a significant drop in oil prices, scarcer credit and a financial sector made fragile by toxic assets. These factors threaten the precarious macroeconomic equilibrium that had been attained between 2003 and 2007, and it is increasingly difficult to believe in the ambitious “2020 Vision” that aims to make Nigeria the world’s twentieth-largest economy by 2020. Although Nigeria is the secondranking economic power in sub-Saharan Africa, its economy is lacking in competitiveness, ranked ninety-third out of 134 countries. The country’s economic performance is above average for sub-Saharan Africa, but well below that of other regions in the world. The economy is not diversified and remains largely dependent on the petroleum sector, with the consequence that the country’s budgetary circumstances are highly correlated to fluctuations in the price of oil.

Inversely, Nigeria has been able to hold its food dependence at a relatively low level compared to other West African countries. Regarding rice, a staple that is central in the food policy debate in West Africa, comparison of degrees of rice dependency across the sub-region show an ongoing deterioration of the rice balance, except in Nigeria. Rice growing in Nigeria has in part met rising demand, thanks to substantial support policies. However, while local rice production reaches the cities in the centre of the country, the large coastal cities continue to be supplied heavily with imported rice. Nigeria is thus simultaneously the most powerful agricultural economy in the region, and the country that imports the most food (via both regulated and controlled channels and informal and illegal pathways).

The development of trade between Nigeria and neighbouring countries reflects a trend that is seen well beyond Nigeria. The shift of trade to bordering areas and regional markets is happening in two apparently contradictory directions. First, the regional integration dynamics supported by ECOWAS are increasingly successful in erasing national borders. Second, some bordering countries are increasingly pushing for wider use of cross-border differentiation. Intra-regional trade with Nigeria is set in a framework of multiple realities: food security issues in Niger with informal trade flowing from Nigeria, competition issues with Cameroon, re-export trade issues with Benin. The markets that prosper on both sides of the Nigerian border make these regions remarkably dynamic in terms of trade. The intensity of trade and its ambiguous effects in the different countries raise many questions about trade policy, in particular with respect to grain products.

Nigeria’s trade policy contrasts sharply with that of its neighbours, by its instability as much as by its protectionist tendencies. Although Nigeria has subscribed to the ECOWAS stipulations (and is the seat of the organization’s headquarters), the Nigerian government continues to apply high tariffs to certain products, and issues import bans every year. These disparities between countries are a boon to trade networks that are well integrated across the regional area. It is likely that implementation of a free-trade scheme within ECOWAS will strengthen trade with Nigeria, but in this case the future of re-export trade will be jeopardised. This poses a challenge for the different value chains and their actors, namely reconversion and developing the capacity to meet consumer demand, in particular in cities. This also implies, assuming that government authorities agree, that Nigeria revise its tariff policy across the board (a maximum customs tariff of 35% and an end to import bans).

These issues raise questions about Nigeria’s role in meeting the challenges of regional integration, and in particular the country’s agricultural sector’s position in today’s regional dynamics. We hope that this issue of Grain de sel will provide readers with keys to understanding the situation and some solutions to the problems.

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Vous lisez un article de la publication "51: Special Issue: Nigeria".

Grain de sel No. 51: Nigeria. A Look at the Agricultural Giant of West Africa

Contents A Grain de sel « Country Report » Editorial The Nigerian Giant, an Imposing Neighbour Jean François Sempéré Benchmarks Benchmark – Nigeria Inter-réseaux Forum Nigeria: Called to Hegemony Daniel C. Bach With its privileged position in the sub-region, Nigeria is poised to play a pivotal role in ECOWAS. But Nigeria’s elites and its public policies must show that they are up to this challenge. On the way to a single currency for ECOWAS Countries ? Gilles Dufrénot The ECOWAS…

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A Grain de sel « Country Report »
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Breaking with its custom, Grain de sel is devoting this issue exclusively to one country, Nigeria. Why this country? Nigeria alone represents half of the population of West Africa and half of its economy. Despite its size and influence on all surrounding countries, most rural and agricultural development actors in French-speaking countries (and sometimes in English-speaking countries as well) both in the North and within Africa know little about Nigeria. This special issue contains reports on initiatives, analytical…

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The Nigerian Giant, an Imposing Neighbour
Jean François Sempéré

By its size and population Nigeria is almost a subcontinent in and of itself. The country continues to have one of the most dynamic economies in Africa, with GDP growth of around 6% in 2009. The effects of the international crisis have been felt, however, with a significant drop in oil prices, scarcer credit and a financial sector made fragile by toxic assets. These factors threaten the precarious macroeconomic equilibrium that had been attained between 2003 and 2007,…

Benchmark – Nigeria
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Nigeria: Called to Hegemony
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With its privileged position in the sub-region, Nigeria is poised to play a pivotal role in ECOWAS. But Nigeria’s elites and its public policies must show that they are up to this challenge. A Decisive Economic Influence in the Sub-Region. Both within and outside of the country, Nigeria’s vocation to dominate and structure the sub-regional environment is no longer contested, and Nigeria is expected to play a key role in African and international organizations. The time is long…

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On the way to a single currency for ECOWAS Countries ?
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Staple crop production and consumption: Nigeria on the way to food self-sufficiency
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Demand for farm animal products in Nigeria: An opportunity for Sahel Countries?
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Nigeria’s Agricultural Policy: Seeking Coherence Within strategic Frameworks
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Historic Oppotunities for Rice Growers in Nigeria
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The rice value chain in Nigeria is in a period of growth, thanks in particular to strong support policies. Work remains to be done, however, to give growers access to improved seeds and improve quality, so that locally grown rice can fully meet the needs of urban consumers. Local rice cultivation provides livelihoods for many producers, processors and vendors in Nigeria. However, it does not satisfy the totality of consumer demand in the country. Nigeria imports on average…

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Nigeria: From Customs exceptions to a Regional Trade Policy
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Nigeria stands out in the sub-region for its traditionally protectionist trade policy. This tendency, which is partly in question today, has slowed down the process of West African regional integration. Nigeria’s trade policy is above all a tool to foster growth, and is framed to be consistent with the country’s overall development objectives. This policy is formulated and implemented via legislation and regulation, as well as by directives issued by the federal Ministry of Finance. Protectionism Is Losing…

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The Agro-Pastoral Product With Neighbouring Coutries: What’s at stake?
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Nigeria is a central actor in the trade of farm and livestock products between countries in the sub-region. This article presents and analyses intra-regional trade in West Africa. Trade between Nigeria and its neighbours in West Africa (Niger and Benin) and in Central Africa (Cameroon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea) is intense and long-standing. As a consequence of its economic importance (over 50% of GDP in ECOWAS), population (one out of every two West Africans is Nigerian), and contrasting levels…

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Nigeria’s role in Niger’s Food Security
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A look at agriculture and agribusiness in Nigeria
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To facilitate access to subsidised fertiliser for smallholder farmers in Nigeria, IFDC developed a fertiliser voucher programme that relies on a public-private partnership. This initiative has met with resounding success, even if many limitations remain to be addressed. Haladu Afdu, chairman of the Jumar Kwari Kamfa Fadama Farmers Cooperative in Wudil (Kano state), has just paid for two 50-kg bags of subsidised mineral fertiliser upon presentation of a voucher coupon that was allotted to each member of his…

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The Nigerian Giant Hungers for its Neighbours’ Coconuts
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News from Inter-réseaux
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