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CLAIM: 10 Nigerian states have larger Gross Domestic Product (GDPs) than some African nations.

VERDICT: True

CONTEXT: Nigeria Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo while receiving a group of Harvard Business School students at the State House in Abuja, urged the international community not to compare Nigeria to some smaller African countries in terms of economy. His statement read,

“When they talk about the economy, we are often compared with smaller African countries, but there are 10 states in Nigeria that have bigger GDPs than those countries; it is a huge target market.”

VERIFICATION: To verify the claim by the vice president, our partners at Daily Trust checked the GDPs of the 54 African countries, including Nigeria, and compared them with the GDPs of some economically viable states in Nigeria

Available data from World Bank-based size show that Nigeria leads the continent with an accumulated GDP of $514bn. Nigeria is closely followed by South Africa with $420bn, Egypt with N404bn, Algeria with N168bn, Ethiopia with $111bn, and Kenya with $110bn.

The statistics showed that African countries with GDP below $2bn include Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Comoros, Seychelles, Sao Tome and Principe.

Although there is no data on the current GDP of states in Nigeria, a 2017 nominal GDP report cited shows that the GDPs of 22 states stood at about $149bn out of the $375bn GDP of Nigeria.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that the nominal GDP of the 22 states accounted for about 56 per cent of the 45 countries’ entire GDP. The NBS report reads in part:

“In 2017, the nominal GDP for the 22 states (for which data is currently available) stood at N63.8trn or 56 per cent of Nigeria’s nominal GDP in that year.

In comparing the GDP figures of some Nigerian states to some African countries using the last figures obtained from the NBS, it is clear that indeed the GDPs of some states are bigger than those of some countries.

For instance, the report in 2017 indicated that the GDP figures of 22 states was nominal $149bn, which represents $7bn per state.

Consequently, this shows that the GDPs of states like Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kano, Imo, Delta, Kaduna and few others as mentioned by NBS are bigger than the GDPs of some countries which have GDPs of less than $5bn.

To further verify the claim our partners spoke to some experts including,

An economist and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Analytics Consulting Ltd, Dr Tope Fasua, confirmed the claim of the vice president, saying some Nigerian states had GDPs larger than some African countries.

Speaking to Daily Trust, he said, “Yes; the GDPs of Lagos, Rivers and a few other states may be larger than those of countries like the Gambia and a handful of other African countries. So it is a fact.

“In 2014, Minister Okonjo Iweala informed us that the FAAC allocation of Akwa Ibom State alone was the entire budget of Liberia. We could say the eight Nigerian states with the highest GDPs fall in this category.”

Similarly, The Chief Economic Strategist at the ECOWAS Commission, Prof Ken Ife, told Daily Trust,

“As of 2021, Nigeria’s GDP at $514b was more than 38 African countries put together. The 10 top Nigerian states with GDP totalling $148.1bn was more than those of 24 African countries, while Lagos with GDP of $29bn was more than nine African countries’ GDP.”

CONCLUSION: Following verifications and experts’ views, Daily Trust concludes that the claim by the vice president is true as there are states in Nigeria that have large GDPs due to their economic viability.

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