Top 10 facts about Nigeria
Like many other African countries, Nigeria is experiencing serious economic difficulties. The enormous wealth of the territory did not contribute to the growth of the well-being of the local population - until now it is considered one of the poorest in the world.
Geography and population
Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, which is constantly growing and predominantly concentrated in the southern regions, where the main cities (Lagos and Ibadan) are located, and the capital Abuja is located in the center of the country. More than 200 languages are spoken here, and there are extreme social, cultural, religious, and economic differences between the various ethnic groups, often in conflict.
The diversity of natural conditions in Nigeria is determined not only by morphological components but primarily by climate. It varies from south to north depending on the specifics of vast continental surfaces subject to alternating seasonal rhythms of the influence of the sea and continental air masses. Dry winters and rainy summers are typical, with a gradual decrease in oceanic moisture towards the north.
The rainy season lasts 4 to 7 months, from May or June to September or October; after this period, a long dry season begins, associated with the influence of the Saharan anticyclone, which generates characteristic dry winds. In this strip, the rainy season lasts approx. 7 months and is divided into two maxima, separated by a "little dry season" characteristic of the Guinean climate. Finally, in the coastal zone with an equatorial climate, rains are distributed evenly throughout the year, although they decrease somewhat in the winter months.
During the year, the precipitation here reaches 2500 mm; in the intermediate range, they fluctuate between 1000 and 1500 mm, with slightly higher values at higher elevations. Finally, they run from 1000 mm to 500 mm to the north in the northern belt.
The temperature also differs significantly in different parts of the country: from the equatorial average of 25-26 ºС of the coastal strip with slight daily fluctuations to 26-30 ºС in intermediate zones, where the fluctuations are more noticeable. Finally, in the northern part of Nigeria sometimes the temperature drops to 13-16 ºС during the cold season.
The population of Nigeria is diverse, and ethnically heterogeneous, which greatly influenced the history of the formation of the state. Since colonial times, the country has been marked by serious ethnic conflicts, religious divisions, sharp outbreaks of violence, and constant conflicts of interest. And all this is against the backdrop of significant economic and social backwardness and the appalling poverty of a large part of the population.
Today, the country's population is over 200 million, according to 2020. Represented by Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples: Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and many others. Most are Muslims, but there are also many Christians in Nigeria.
The official language of Nigeria is English. However, the population speaks more than 500 local languages and dialects: some of the most popular ones are also used in the media and education.
The official currency of Nigeria is called the naira. In 2022, 1 naira equals 0.0024 USD.
Relative to most other African countries, Nigeria has made notable progress in popularizing mass communications, the Internet, and communications. The country has a lot of providers and mobile operators offering their services: the most popular of them are Glo and MTN.
The cost of services is quite high - prices are close to European ones. For example, a monthly MTN plan for 15 GB costs about $12, 30 GB is twice as expensive.
It should also be taken into account that the connection speed and its stability may fluctuate and be unsatisfactory in remote parts of the country. However, the situation may change as Starlink satellite internet develops, which was licensed in Nigeria in 2022.
But home Internet in Nigeria is indecently expensive - one of the most expensive in the world. A month of unlimited connection can cost $40 and more, but there are more affordable tariff plans.
Despite the diversification policy and its own rich energy resources, the country is still mainly dependent on oil exports and is therefore very sensitive to price changes in the international market. Although growth rates turned positive in 2021 following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, they remain low and have not kept pace with high natural growth and, as a result, the need for new jobs.
Information technology and communications are among the most dynamic sectors of the economy, in addition to the construction sector, which is supported by government spending. High inflation is an ingrained problem, fueled by the depreciation of the naira. Development is constrained by difficult domestic conditions (pervasive corruption, violence, lack of infrastructure). The distribution of income is extremely uneven.
The country is predominantly agrarian, engaged in agriculture for export. Export crops are dominated by cocoa, peanuts, cashews, oil palm, sesame, and cotton. Cassava, yams, corn, and sorghum are grown for their own consumption, but agricultural production covers only two-thirds of national needs. The forests are rich in precious essences (obech, mahogany, and abura). There are large plantations of rubber trees in the Benin City area. Breeding is carried out mainly in the north by the Fulani in a nomadic or semi-nomadic form.
The textile industry is important, especially the cotton industry, which includes several factories, including processing ones. The production of tobacco, palm, and peanut oil is developing. Small local scale enterprises are fruit juice factories, breweries, woodworking complexes, shoe factories, and others. Rapid urbanization has led to a strong increase in demand for cement and building materials in general, so construction is also an important sector.
In the implementation of the ambitious government program, which included more efficient use of oil revenues to promote broader development, for example, to reduce Nigeria's almost complete dependence on oil exports, the country's industrialization has obviously become crucial. Compared to other emerging economies, Nigeria has an advantage: it can count on both its large domestic market and the ability to find buyers for products in the ECOWAS zone (The Economic Community of West African States).
Job in Nigeria
Nigeria is obviously not a country for labor migration. The official minimum wage in 2022 is 30,000 Nigerian Naira per month, which is only about $70.
The average salary is not much better - about 70,000 naira, or about $170. Even representatives of seriously qualified professions receive extremely little: for example, the average monthly income of a Nigerian architect is about $300. Managers, marketers, and factory workers receive an average of up to $500. Doctors can earn a little more.
Most of all lawyers, engineers, and journalists receive up to $1500.
The lowest income among the representatives of unskilled hard labor - they can earn literally a couple of dollars a day in the poorest areas.
Unfortunately for the local population, the prices of most everyday products in Nigeria do not match wages at all. This is what an average grocery basket looks like:
1 liter of milk - $2.5
Bread - $1.1
Eggs, 12 pieces - $1.7
Chicken fillet, 1 kg - $4
Potatoes, 1 kg - $1.9
Rice, 1 kg - $2.3
You will also have to fork out for real estate: for example, one-room apartments in a large city can cost an average of $700-$800 per month. In contrast, utilities will cost no more than $50.
Medicine and education
Almost all medical care provided in Nigeria isn't free. In addition, medicine is characterized by low accessibility - the general population, especially in remote areas, often cannot access the most basic and necessary services. In this regard, the country, like most of Africa, is suffering from epidemiological outbreaks of infectious diseases and parasites.
The situation is slightly better in large cities, especially the capital. It is there that the best clinics are located, where both locals and foreigners can be treated.
Like medicine, education in Nigeria is underdeveloped and heterogeneous. Not everyone can get access to it: although basic schooling is compulsory, in practice, not all families give their children away.
There are several public and private universities, but their number and capabilities are much more modest than the demand from the Nigerians themselves - students do not have enough study places. Because of this, young people often leave for other countries, including the CIS and Europe, to get a profession. Some of them are returning.
Nigeria is not popular among foreign students.
Working days and holidays
If we take into account the main official holidays, here the European will find many people he knows:
New Year - January 1st
Easter holidays - April-May
Labor Day - May 1st
Eid al-Fitr - May 3
Democracy Day - June 12
Eid al-Kabir - July 10
Islamic New Year - July 30
National Day - October 1st
Christmas - December 25
Local memorable dates and local holidays can also be celebrated.
The mentality of Nigerians is very different from the accepted and familiar in Europe. There are pagan beliefs and alternative medicine - however, this is due more to the inaccessibility of conventional medical care than to other factors.
The traditional patriarchal system is widespread. A man not only occupies a dominant position in the family, depriving a woman of the right to choose but can also start relationships on the side, creating numerous families - this is not condemned. Families with many children are common, but Nigerians are not burdened with classical European upbringing, often children are left to their own devices, and in educational institutions, the attitude towards them can be quite cruel. However, not everyone follows this pattern.
There is also a lack of purposefulness and a thirst for personal growth. However, again, the point is most likely in a hard life - when you have to strain yourself for a few dollars, you will think about the spiritual first of all. Poverty also causes an increase in crime and corruption.
Cryptocurrencies are not banned in Nigeria, the government is trying to regulate them. In 2022, assets were equated to securities, which provides for certain requirements for their circulation, as well as for the registration and management of platforms operating in this niche.
Nigeria is a poor, not very developed country, the majority of whose population does not have access to the usual benefits of civilization. One can only hope that in the near future these people will have strong power and a better fate.