Nigeria Trade: What Are The Main Imports & Exports Of Africa’s Most Populous Country?

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In this economic guide to Nigeria we’ll give you an overview of the Nigerian economy, including the country’s primary imports and exports of goods and services.

Economy of Nigeria – Overview

The Federal Republic of Nigeria is commonly referred to more simply as “Nigeria,” and this West African country is the 50th largest export economy in the world.

Nigeria enjoys a positive annual trade balance of $10.9 billion after deducting imports of $48.7 billion from its export total of $59.5 billion. The value of its exports has fallen -$38 billion over the last five years, falling from $97.6 billion to $59.5 billion.

Nigeria’s GDP

The GDP of Nigeria is $397 billion, which equates to a GDP per capita of $2,028. The African country is ranked 134 out of 137 on the Economic Complexity Index (ECI).

Nigeria’s Top 5 Commodity Exports

  1. Crude Petroleum – $45 billion
  2. Petroleum Gas – $8.6 billion
  3. Refined Petroleum – $940 million
  4. Cocoa Beans – $621 million
  5. Gold – $577 million

Nigeria’s Other Notable Exports

  • Coconuts, Brazil Nuts, and Cashews – $267,258,907.71
  • Other Oily Seeds – $261,651,472.82
  • Scrap Vessels – $259,223,819.00
  • Rough Wood – $243,549,598.02
  • Nitrogenous Fertilizers – $221,803,968.07

The top export destinations for Nigerian products are India ($10 billion), Spain ($6.12 billion), United States ($5.74 billion), France ($4.02 billion), and South Africa ($3.87 billion).

Nigeria’s Top 5 Commodity Imports

  1. Refined Petroleum – $10 billion
  2. Wheat – $1.6 billion
  3. Non-fillet Frozen Fish – $641 milion
  4. Rubber Tires – $393 million
  5. Raw Sugar – $384 million

Nigeria’s Other Notable Imports

  • Special Purpose Ships – $4 billion
  • Cars – $1.3 billion
  • Packaged Medicaments – $1 billion
  • Broadcasting Equipment – $584 million
  • Vehicle Parts – $504 million

Details About Nigeria’s Imports/Exports

Here we provide more detailed information on some of Nigeria’s top import and export products.

Crude Petroleum

Exports of crude petroleum are vital to Nigeria’s export economy and account for 75.3% of all its exports.

The country has a 4.16% share of an annual crude petroleum global export market worth $1.08 trillion.

The most popular export destinations for Nigerian crude petroleum were India ($8.52 billion), the United States ($5.11 billion), Spain ($5 billion), South Africa ($3.82 billion), and the United Kingdom ($3.03 billion).

Petroleum Gas

Petroleum gas exports account for 14.5% of Nigeria’s total exports ($8.61 billion) which ranks the African nation 11th of global exporters of a worldwide export market that is worth $299 billion annually.

Japan is a major export market for Nigeria’s petroleum gas exports, taking 32% of their output, followed by Spain (11%), India (9.9%), South Korea (9.7%) and Brazil (9.7%).

India ($1.26 billion), China ($1.02 billion), and Spain ($1.01 billion) are the top recipients of Nigeria’s petroleum gas exports, with France ($834 million), and Japan ($705 million) rounding out the top 5 destinations.

Cocoa Beans

Cocoa production is also important to the Nigerian economy since it’s the top agricultural export.

Nigeria is the 4th largest exporting country in the world for cocoa beans. It enjoys a 6.75% market share of a global market that is worth $9.2 billion.

The Netherlands is a major destination for Nigeria’s cocoa bean exports, taking 42.2% of their annual total, with Germany (36.4%) being the second largest importer of this delicious commodity.

Rough Wood

The value of the worldwide rough wood export market is worth $15.7 billion per year and Nigeria has a 1.6% market share, competing with Equatorial Guinea as the leading African nation for rough wood exports.

China almost exclusively receives all of Nigeria’s rough wood exports and imports 99.5% of their annual shipments ($244 million). Interestingly, Nigeria also imports 97.9% of its rough wood from China ($1.14 million).

Interesting Facts About Nigeria

  • Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. And with approximately 160 million people living there it has almost twice as many people as the second most populous African country, Ethiopia, which has 84 million inhabitants.
  • Nollywood is the the nickname for the Nigerian movie industry. It is ranked as the second largest producer of movies, producing up to 200 every week. Although this is behind Bollywood in India, it’s ahead of Hollywood in production numbers!

All figures based on OEC/IMF 2018 calculations and projections unless otherwise stated.

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