Nigeria Human and Economic Geography in the 1990’s
Data on demographic density indicate that the population of Nigeria exceeded 100 million during the first half of the nineties (in 1991 had been surveyed 88. 514. 501 residents, Rose in 1998, according to one estimate, to 106,409,000). The growth rate is very strong, despite the persistence of high mortality, and the Nigeria is on the way to becoming one of the most populated countries in the world. The capital, Abuja, numbered over 423. 000 residents in 1995 ; the average urbanization rate in 1998 had reached 42%, with much higher peaks in the South-West regions.
In 1996 six new federated states were established (Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Gombe, Nassarawa, Zamfara) by detachment, respectively, from the states of Rivers, Abia and Enugo, Ondo, Bauchi, Plateau, Sokoto; with capitals Yenagoa, Abakaliki, Ado Ekiti, Gombe, Lafia, Gusau. The consequent surface and population variations have not yet been disclosed.
Economic conditions. – According to THEDRESSWIZARD.COM, the slow process of transition from a military administration to democratically elected institutions, initiated in 1996, should create the conditions for a revival of the Nigerian economy, especially as the country’s production structure is one of the most diversified in the entire continent, and can count on a good endowment of natural resources (agricultural and mineral), as well as on the availability of an abundant workforce and on a very substantial internal market. In 1996 the growth rate of GDP was 2, 1 %, but the Nigerian population remains very poor: according to World Bank estimates, around 51% of the residents live below the poverty line, and the average per capita income has dropped from $ 1,000 in 1980 to $ 300 in 1998.
The primary sector contributed to 32.7 % of GDP in 1997, employing 48 % of the labor force. Among the commercial crops it maintains a very important cocoa (1. 550. 000 q in 1997), who also fell sharply compared to the eighties, in terms of both quantitative contribution to the total value of exports. In recovery is the production of peanut (23.310. 000 q in 1997), as well as that of cotton; As for the rice, Nigeria records the strongest production of all of Black Africa (32,680. 000 q).
Among the subsistence crops the traditional ones predominate: poor cereals (millet and sorghum) in the driest regions, corn in the intermediate zone and cassava in the equatorial belt. However, despite the overall good results of major crops, it must resort to substantial imports of grain (1. 600. 000 t in 1994).
In 1997 the mining sector has contributed to the formation of GDP to the extent of 41, 4 %, employing less than 0, 1 % of the total labor force. More than 112 million tonnes of crude oil were extracted from the oil fields in 1997, which ensured 97.6 % of total export revenues in that same year and represented 17 % of GDP.
The oil fields are mainly concentrated in the Niger Delta area, where local people, especially ethnic minority Ogoni (a group of about 500. 000 people), grieved to see their living environment shocked by intensified mining activity without receiving any compensation, in 1995 gave rise to anti-government demonstrations bloody repressed by the central government. Important offshore oil fields have recently been discovered (Oyo, 1995 ; Bonga, 1996), while there is a growing trend towards deep-sea research.
Nigeria also extracts natural gas (4130million m³in 1995), which is conveyed through two gas pipelines from the fields in the South-East to the Afam power plant and to the industrial area of Trans-Amadi (Port Harcourt). Internal energy needs are covered by the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries; but the contribution of hydroelectric plants is still important, and in particular that connected to the great dam of Kainji, on the Niger river. The Nigerian manufacturing industry is rather weak and disjointed, mainly aimed at the production of consumer goods (food, textiles, footwear, pharmaceuticals, paper, cement). The low steel production (20. 000 t in 1995) of the two plants in Ajaokuta and Aladja, whose production capacities have remained underutilized, is symptomatic of the lack of a solid national industrial base and of the dependence on foreign assets for capital goods (machinery, means of transport, etc.) and manufacturing products of base.
External debt in 1997 amounted to approximately US $ 28.5 billion. In 1986 the government had launched a long-term structural adjustment program, which only in 1995 however began to take the form of concrete economic reforms and monetary policy measures consistent with the precepts of the Bretton Woods institutions.