Six months ago, I wrote about how Nigeria is spending much more than it earns on the international market, with imports surpassing exports by ₦7 trillion in 2020. Things did not get better in 2021. Nigeria's current account deficit was nearly ₦9 trillion by the end of the third quarter.

Putting that in context, exactly ten years ago, Nigeria had a current account surplus of ₦9 trillion.

Some takeaways:

  • 90% of Nigeria's physical exports are oil & gas. Ten years ago, Nigeria was shipping nearly $90 billion worth of oil out of its borders each year, and in 2020, it barely hit $30 billion.

  • Nigeria is not the agriculture export behemoth it once was. In Q3 2021, agriculture imports were more than ten times agriculture exports in Nigeria.

  • According to the World Bank, the Apapa Port is one of the top 10 worst ports globally (out of 400). It also handles 90% of all Nigeria's exports.

It does not take a genius to realise that the collapse in Nigeria's exports is linked to lower oil & gas revenues since the coronavirus pandemic hit. Today though, we look under the hood to figure out what exactly Nigeria exports.

Oil? Gas? Yams? Wigs? People?

What does this $400 billion economy of 200 million people sell to the world?   

Not much, apparently.