Nigeria’s economy to expand 7.98%

Feb 11, 2011 12:00 AM

Nigeria’s economy, the second- largest in sub-Saharan Africa, is projected to grow by 7.98 % in 2011, led by non-oil industries including agriculture, said Finance Minister Olusegun Aganga. The expansion, which compares with 7.85 % in the previous year, comes amid a “commitment to grow the non-oil sector to become the major driver of economic growth” this year, Aganga said in a speech in Abuja, the capital.
Africa’s most populous country is seeking to diversify its economy, which relies on oil for some 95 % of its export income. The industry accounts for just 16 % of gross domestic product, while agriculture accounts for 42 %, according to the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics.

On Feb. 1 2011, the country’s 24 banks pledged to triple lending to agriculture to aid the industry and boost economic growth, said Phillips Oduoza, chief executive officer of United Bank for Africa Plc. Aganga said the security situation in the restive oil-rich Niger Delta has “improved” and helped boost crude production amid high international prices. An infrastructure deficit estimated at $100 bn remains a “major” challenge to growth.

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