In a recent report, the United Nations has projected a potential decline in Nigeria’s economic development in 2024 due to the country’s increasing debt, surging inflation rate, and the consequent impact on citizen welfare. The World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report for 2024, released on Monday, outlined these concerns and raised alarms about the nation’s economic trajectory.
According to the report, Nigeria may witness a slowdown in economic progress as a result of mounting debt burdens and growing inflation. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, in collaboration with the five United Nations Regional Commissions and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, jointly developed the comprehensive analysis.
Despite the ominous forecast, the UN projected a slight acceleration in Nigeria’s growth rate, expecting it to rise from 2.9% in 2023 to 3.1% in 2024. The report attributed this modest improvement to policy measures implemented in 2023, particularly in the oil sector.
The report highlighted, “Policy reforms enacted by the government of Nigeria in 2023, especially in the hydrocarbon sector, have contributed to a moderate improvement in the country’s growth prospects for 2024, with GDP growth forecast at 3.1 per cent. However, ballooning public debt, persistent inflation and a rising cost of living, together with a weak business environment, will pose a downward risk to growth prospects.”
One of the notable aspects mentioned in the report was the potential for lower national petrol prices in 2024 if concerted local efforts were made to increase oil refining capacity. However, concerns were raised about the impact of ballooning public debt, persistent inflation, and a weak business environment on the nation’s growth prospects.
The global trade scenario also came under scrutiny, with the UN report noting that global trade remained low in 2023. Africa, in particular, experienced almost no year-over-year growth in the volume of merchandise trade, contributing to the overall downtrend in global trade. The report urged caution and proactive measures to address the economic challenges facing Nigeria in the coming year.