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In this Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010 file photo, Nigerian hip hop artist D'banj performs in Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria is set to overtake South Africa as the biggest economy in Africa with a long-overdue recount of its GDP that will give it continental bragging rights but do little for its 112 million people scrabbling to survive in desperate poverty. That’s cause for reflection in longtime rival South Africa, the only African member of the G20 on the strength of its position as the continent’s economic powerhouse. Finance Minister Ngozi Ikonjo-Iweala is to announce new GDP figures on Sunday, April. 6, 2014 to include previously uncounted industries like telecommunications and IT, banking and insurance, music and airlines, and the burgeoning online retail outlets and Nollywood films that didn’t exist when the last count was made in 1990. Then, there were 300,000 landlines. Today, Nigeria has 100 million cell phone users.
In this Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010 file photo, Nigerian hip hop artist D'banj performs in Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria is set to overtake South Africa as the biggest economy in Africa with a long-overdue recount of its GDP that will give it continental bragging rights but do little for its 112 million people scrabbling to survive in desperate poverty. That’s cause for reflection in longtime rival South Africa, the only African member of the G20 on the strength of its position as the continent’s economic powerhouse. Finance Minister Ngozi Ikonjo-Iweala is to announce new GDP figures on Sunday, April. 6, 2014 to include previously uncounted industries like telecommunications and IT, banking and insurance, music and airlines, and the burgeoning online retail outlets and Nollywood films that didn’t exist when the last count was made in 1990. Then, there were 300,000 landlines. Today, Nigeria has 100 million cell phone users.
(Sunday Alamba/AP)

Africa reels after Nigeria demands a GDP recount

Apparently, Nigeria has discovered more than $200-billion (U.S.) of national wealth that it previously didn’t know existed, and the country’s chief statistical officer wants to tell you all about it. It sounds rather like an email scam, one of those farcical attempts to draw you into releasing your bank details with the promise to share untold riches of dubious provenance. In this case, however, the unexpected bounty is the nation’s GDP which has increased by 89 per cent to an estimated $510-billion in 2013 after a review of the basis on which GDP data is calculated. This entirely legitimate statistical exercise has not only revealed hidden strengths in the Nigerian economy in services, manufacturing and entertainment, but has relegated South Africa to the status of also-ran in the contest for the continent’s biggest economy.