Nigeria Population and Economy in the 1960’s


Federal state, independent since 10 October 1960, in 1961 it incorporates the northern region of the former British Cameroon and in 1963 it gives itself a republican constitution, remaining in the Commonwealth.

According to JUSTINSHOES.NET, the residents, which in 1963 were 55,670,052, were 79,758,969 at the 1973 census (according to the UN 59,607,000, so that the only reliable data remain those of the 1963 census, shown in the table), making Nigeria the most populous African state and the one with one of the largest increases; the average density is high (86 residents per km 2) , and in the coastal states and in that of Kano there are more than 150 and 200 residents. per km 2, exceptional values ​​for Africa. In 1971 after the capital, Lagos (residents 1,500,000), the major cities were Ibadan (residents 758,000), Ogmobosho (residents 387,000) and Kano (residents 357,000); but another 6 exceeded 200,000 residents and another 16 the 100,000, making Nigeria the African state numerically richest in cities, even if the relative percentage of urban population was not high (23%). With the end of the secessionist conflict and with the economic recovery, internal migrations intensified and the problem of urbanization worsened: in 1975 Lagos exceeded 2,500,000 residents. In 1976 an administrative reorganization took place which brought the Confederate states from 12 to 19 and created a federal district where the new capital Abuja will rise.

Official language is English; the rate of schooling is good, and rising sharply; one of the major efforts of the plan (4000 mil. $) is aimed at education: since 1976 the primary is general and free and four other universities are added to the six existing ones. Particular commitments are also foreseen for health care (1000 mil. $), Telecommunications (2000 mil. $) And urban planning (3000 mil. $), Where the growth of cities, with a very modern morphology mixed with archaic residues, poses serious problems.

The population is mostly animist: Christians (11 million) prevail in the South and Muslims (26 million) in the North; English prevails among foreign communities, followed by Lebanese and Italian (3500 residents).

The great economic potential makes Nigeria the giant of Africa; but per capita income, although tripled compared to 1960, is still low (1973: $ 211). The III National Development Plan (1975-80), envisaging global investments of 30 billion naire (48 billion $, for two thirds public), aims at doubling the gross national product and income: this will be possible thanks to the increase in oil exports (from $ 8-9 to $ 16-17 billion) and the fruits of industrialization.

Only 12% of the territory is unproductive, being 34% occupied by forests, 28% by pastures and 26% by crops. Among the export crops, prevalent in the North and in the coastal strip, cocoa and palm stand out, of which Nigeria is the second largest producer in the world, peanuts (third in the world in 1972, sixth in 1975) and sesame (seventh in the world); the productions of cotton, soy and coconut are good and on the rise, while those of tobacco, sugar cane, coffee, pepper and ginger are less important. Among the food crops, typical of the central plateau, there are: sorghum and millet (fourth in the world), cassava, corn; rice production is increasing and sweet potato production is decreasing. Nigeria is, then, the seventh world exporter of rubber and its production of precious wood is also noteworthy. The five-year plan allocates modernization of agriculture 3500 mil. And the start of industrialization will rapidly decrease the assets in this sector: 80% in 1965, 67% in 1970. Livestock, although quantitatively consistent (third in the world for goats), is insufficient to meet the needs; vice versa, the catch, which in 1969 was very scarce (59,000 t), is beginning to be discreet: 507,000 t (1975), of which 337,000 in inland waters (Niger, Benué, Chad).

The mineral wealth is very notable and concentrated in the former Biafra, except tin and columbite which are found in the center-north. Nigeria continues to be the only coal producer in western and equatorial Africa, even if the poor quality and the high cost have brought down the production; it is the sixth largest producer of tin and the first of columbite in the world; the reserves of iron, lead and zinc are also important, while those of gold are now scarce. But the prime mover of development, and not least of the civil war, is oil, whose recent increase in production (1970: 54,095,000 t; 1974: 112,584,000 t; 1976: 103 million t) has brought the Nigeria in seventh place in the world, and whose income in 1974 (8000 mil. $) constituted 85% of the national income. The crude, of particularly high quality, it is extracted by five multinational companies (in the order Shell-BP, Mobil, Gulf, Agip-Phillips, Elf), but 55% of their capital is owned by the Nigerian state company; seven other multinationals have received research permits. Refineries are still lacking and the plan has allocated 1800 mil. $ for the upgrading of the Port Harcourt one and for the creation of another four. Exports go mainly to the USA and Great Britain, of which they satisfy 33% and 16% of imports respectively. A great increase, even if its importance is less, has also seen the production of natural gas, used above all for local energy. The network of oil and gas pipelines, whose centerpiece is Warri, it is gaining consistency and three will be added to the current five. The energy produced is still scarce, but it more than doubled from 1968 to 1973, thanks to the completion (1969) of the large Kainji power plant on the Niger (320,000 kW), set up by Italian companies. After the Biafran crisis, the secondary sector recovered well, doubling, in the following four years, the production of the food industry (oil mills, sugar refineries, breweries and beverages in general), of the light industry (ceramics, footwear, cigarettes, yarns and fabrics of cotton) and of the basic one (smelting of tin – sixth place in the world -, cement factories.) The production of iron, aluminum, fertilizers and the assembly of motor vehicles are of lesser importance. The economic plan focuses on the development of durable consumer goods (cars) and capital goods: three plants to produce steel (now largely supplied by the USSR), others for iron, chemical and petrochemicals. But the maximum effort is foreseen for transport (over $ 11 billion): the road network, already good (1972: 88,500 km; 15,300 asphalted), the ports, now congested (with 55 mil. t, Bonny was the largest oil port in Africa in 1971), the airports (seventeen new) and will restructure the railway network. There is a significant foreign presence in construction and plant (Italy in particular), in mechanics and transport (Peugeot, Volkswagen, Fiat), alongside the local business class.

The trade balance, passive until 1965, then saw its assets grow, which in 1974 reached 6200 mil. of $, down in 1975 to 1900; over three-quarters of the trade takes place with Great Britain, the USA, France, the Netherlands and the USSR. The trade surplus allowed Nigeria to implement a significant foreign aid policy (6 million to Niger, Chad, Upper Volta, Mali and Zambia) and credits (120 million $ to the International Monetary Fund, 240 to the World Bank), which strengthened its leadership role for neighboring countries.

Nigeria Population

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