How do you know when you are excelling at something? By measuring your performance today against your performance in the past. It's why people get on scales periodically when they have a weight goal. And why your work appraisals measure your current performance against your past.

Similarly, countries tend to review their performances over time. Most macroeconomic indicators like inflation rates or GDP measure the country's performance today versus a year or month prior.

Key takeaways:

  1. It’s not enough to measure Nigeria’s economic performance over time. We must also measure against peers, such as countries of similar sizes (population and economic size). 

  2. While the largest countries in Africa have experienced economic slowdowns in the last decade, in per capita terms, Nigeria has increased only marginally in the last decade, a performance not as good as others. 

  3. This marginal growth has also not translated into improved well-being in the lives of Nigerians for the most part. Many still have no access to electricity and clean fuels for cooking.


​​​​But this can sometimes be insufficient in telling how well a country has performed. A country could grow by 5%, which is good because the country has witnessed some growth. But if its peers grew 15%, there's obvious room for improvement. So, apart from checking for a country's performance relative to the past, it's also critical to check relative to peers.

So in this article, we review Nigeria's economic performance—how it has grown and improved the well-being of its people—against other African peers.

We selected Nigeria’s peers based on two criteria: population and the size of their