The Federal Republic of Nigeria is located in Western Africa between Benin and Cameroon with a border on the Gulf of Guinea. The Niger River enters the country in the northwest and then flows southward to its delta on the gulf. It’s capital is Abuja, however, its most populous city is Lagos. The official language in Nigeria is English, but there are over 500 other languages spoken as well, including Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and Fulani. Half of the population practices the faith of Islam, 40% Christianity and the final 10% are those who follow various indigenous beliefs. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and the 7th most populous in the world, housing approximately 170,123,740 people. The economy has been historically dependent on the oil sector, although there have been recent efforts to increase diversity. The most recent estimate calculates that 95% of Nigeria’s exports are petroleum or petroleum products. The current estimated GDP (PPP) for the country is $414.5 billion, with an astounding growth rate of 6.9%. Even with this growth, the GDP per capita (PPP) is $2,600 and about 70% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Nigeria was granted independence from Great Britain in October of 1960 and since then has had a tumultuous political history. However, in 1999 a new constitution was adopted after 16 years of military rule that has helped the transition to a civilian government in the country. The most recent elections were marred by violence, but there is hope still that things will improve since the same elections were the first ever transfer of power from civilian to civilian leader. The current President is Goodluck Jonathan who came to power in 2010 after the death of the former President Yar’Adua. He is a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) although the government is made up of at least thirteen competing parties.
Currently, Nigeria is facing many problems to its development. It is home to over 5,000 refugees who fled Liberia and are still displaced. There are also continuing problems with money laundering schemes in the country, however they have been reduced due to efforts by the Financial Actions Task Force (FATF). One of the most predominant issues is the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The adult prevalence rate is 3.6% with 3.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. The government has taken actions to try and prevent the spread of this disease as well as increase awareness, but the country remains one of the most affected by HIV/AIDS.