Places of InterestBorno, Abuja, Delta, Taraba, Oyo, Bauchi, Gombe, Zamfara
Recognised regional languages
Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Kanuri,
AreaTotal 923,768 km2
Population148,000,000 (2009 est.)
Country Profile: Nigeria
Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising thirty-six states and one Federal Capital Territory. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast lies on the Gulf of Guinea, a part of the Atlantic Ocean, in the south. The capital city is Abuja. The three largest and most influential ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. The people of Nigeria have an extensive history, and archaeological evidence shows that human habitation of the area dates back to at least 9000 BCE.
The number of languages currently estimated and catalogued in Nigeria is 521. This number includes 510 living languages, two second languages without native speakers and nine extinct languages. In some areas of Nigeria, ethnic groups speak more than one language. The official language of Nigeria, English, was chosen to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country. The choice of English as the official language was partially related to the fact that a part of the Nigerian population spoke English as a result of the British colonization that ended in 1960.
The major languages spoken in Nigeria represent three major families of African languages - the majority are Niger-Congo languages, such as Yoruba, Igbo, the Hausa language is Afro-Asiatic; and Kanuri, spoken in the northeast, primarily Borno State, is a member of the Nilo-Saharan family. Even though most ethnic groups prefer to communicate in their own languages, English, being the official language, is widely used for education, business transactions and for official purposes. English as a first language, however, remains an exclusive preserve of a small minority of the country's urban elite, and it is not spoken at all in some rural areas.
Nigeria has a varied landscape which ranges from the Obudu Hills in the southeast through the beaches in the south, the rainforest, the Lagos estuary and savannah in the middle and southwest of the country and the Sahel to the encroaching Sahara in the extreme north. The highest point in Nigeria is Chappal Waddi at 2,419 m (7,936 ft). Nigeria's main rivers are the Niger and the Benue which converge and empty into the Niger Delta, the world's largest river deltas. Nigeria's Delta region, home of the large oil industry, experiences serious oil spills and other environmental problems. Waste management including sewage treatment, the linked processes of deforestation and soil degradation, and climate change or global warming are the major environmental issues in Nigeria.
Nigeria is classified as an emerging market, and is rapidly approaching middle income status with its abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, transport sectors and stock exchange (the Nigerian Stock Exchange), which is the second largest in Africa. Africa is in the top 10 exporters of goods to the United States and the close communication that Nigeria has to the United States is one of the many reasons for their continued economic success.
Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world and the 8th largest exporter, and has the 10th largest proven reserves. Nigeria is also a member of OPEC as of 1971, they also look to expand their oil production along the Niger Dealt as well. Furthermore, petroleum plays a large role in the Nigerian economy, accounting for 40% of GDP and 80% of Government earnings.
Communications and Finance
Nigeria has one of the fastest growing telecommunications markets in the world, major emerging market operators (like MTN, Etisalat, Zain and Globacom) basing their largest and most profitable centres in the country. The government has recently begun expanding this infrastructure to space based communications. Nigeria has a space satellite which is monitored at the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency Headquarters in Abuja. The country has a highly developed financial services sector, with a mix of local and international banks, asset management companies, brokerage houses, insurance companies and brokers, private equity funds and investment banks.
Resources and Agriculture
Nigeria also has a wide array of underexploited mineral resources which include natural gas, coal, bauxite, tantalite, gold, tin, iron ore, limestone, niobium, lead and zinc. Despite huge deposits of these natural resources, the mining industry in Nigeria is still in it infancy, but the government is passing legilation and reforms to expand this wealth of resources into a huge industry for the nation. Agriculture used to be the principal foreign exchange earner of Nigeria, at one time, Nigeria was the world's largest exporter of groundnuts, cocoa, and palm oil and a significant producer of coconuts, citrus fruits, maize, pearl millet, cassava, yams and sugar cane. About 60% of Nigerians work in the agricultural sector, and Nigeria has vast areas of underutilized arable land. It also has a manufacturing industry which includes leather and textiles, car manufacturing (for the French car manufacturer Peugeot as well as for the English truck manufacturer Bedford, now a subsidiary of General Motors), t-shirts, plastics and processed food.
Nigeria looks to continue to grow in the near future, and is predicted to be one of the top 15 economies in the world by 2020. It will expand on its strengths of natural resources, including ariable farmland, as well as a huge and productive labour force. Also Nigeria has tremendous oil and coal resources and a very bright future, which will continue to prosper in the years to come.
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