It’s now no secret that Nigeria is fast climbing to prominence. Recently declared the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is growing quickly and developing into a significant world player — and global investors and business leaders are taking note.
Of course, the real heart of Nigerian development lies with individual people and the opportunities available to them. Although income growth has been slow in some sectors, the middle class and middle class income and steadily rising, offering increasing promise to millions. The 2014 McKinsey Report, dubbed Nigeria’s Renewal, offers well-deserved optimism for Nigerians.
Middle and upper class status has become increasingly attainable for Nigerians. In fact, 35 million households are expected to earn over $7,500 each year by 2030, more than seven times the MGI Empowerment Line for an “economically empowered” standard of living. The number of households considered to belong to the “consumer class” is rapidly growing, and these citizens are able to cover all of their necessary expenses with money left over to invest in services like healthcare and education, as well as more and higher-quality food consumption.
This trend of prosperity shows no signs of slowing. Indeed, the percentage of the population who fall into middle class and top income brackets is expected to grow explosively over the next 15 years, more than doubling the number of Nigerians who are able to elevate themselves to a high quality of life. The number of emerging consumer households ($7,500 – $20,000) will likely see growth as large as a 233% increase, from 21% of the population to 49% in the next decade and a half.
The consuming middle class ($20,000 – $70,000), which represents only 1% of the population today is on track to balloon to 8%. That’s an incredible 1,200% increase in terms of actual numbers of households that have reached this successful threshold.
Finally, the very top income bracket (>$70,000), which currently holds less than 1% of the population, is expected to grow to 3% over the next 15 years. These expanding upper brackets are extremely significant for individuals and for the country. Each percentage point represents thousands of Nigerians who will have access to greater resources and promising futures. These same Nigerians will, in turn, make significant and ever-growing contributions to the rapidly expanding Nigerian economy.
Not only is prosperity for each citizen improving, but the overall population is young and growing with great speed. Nigeria is currently home to 170 million people, making it the most populous African country by a huge margin — twice that of the closest runner-up.
Nigeria’s working age population is the ninth largest in the world, expanding by 2.6 percent each year and expected to have increased by another 50% by 2030. Almost 1 in 5 sub-Saharan Africans are Nigerian, and this in turn offers significant economic advantages. At the current labor rates, that population growth alone could add .8 percent to the GDP each year.
Our people are not just many; They are talented, resourceful, and determined. Nigeria’s large numbers of young people are urban and highly tech-savvy, and they have the power to drive the digital economy to new heights. Already, Nigeria can claim a strong selection of successful tech startups, including Konga, Paga, and Jobberman.
To our great credit, Nigerians are also incredibly entrepreneurial. Over 40 percent of working-age Nigerians were involved in a new business in just the past three and a half years, and 81 percent of us continue to believe that entrepreneurship is a desirable career strategy. These numbers place us in the top 10 countries for entrepreneurial efforts.
Nigeria’s growing population is a great strength, as are our individual people and their forward-thinking spirit. These advantages are sure to spur on Nigerian growth and development in the next 15 years and beyond.