The World Bank has assessed the Nigerian economy prior to and under the leadership of retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as ‘falling behind’ and ‘slipping.’
The bank said the Nigerian economy exhibited those characteristics since 1995 and this continued till 2018; therefore placing the country at the bottom tercile.
The bank’s analyses are contained in its latest report on the regional economy titled, ‘Africa’s Pulse’, where it assessed the taxonomy of growth performance and macroeconomic and financial features that led to growth resilience in parts of Africa.
The project involved assessing a series of macroeconomic variables for 44 African countries from 1995 to 2018.
The key elements that determined the positions of each of the 44 sub-Saharan economies in the taxonomy, the World Bank said, included the level of income per capita of the countries; structural transformation, as captured by sectoral value-added share and sectoral employment share; and capital flows.
The last of the indicators has to do with governance vis-a-vis government effectiveness, regulatory quality, control of corruption, voice and accountability, political stability, and absence of violence and rule of law.
According to the World Bank, the taxonomy compares the average annual GDP growth rates during 1995–2008 and 2015–2018 against predetermined thresholds.
It also categorised growth performance into five groups: falling behind, slipping, stuck in the middle, improved, and established. The five groups were further reclassified into three groups: Top tercile, middle tercile and bottom tercile.
Based on the above classification, the Nigerian economy was categorized alongside 18 African economies as slipping having recorded declined economic performance between 1995 and 2018.
The World Bank said, “The bottom tercile consists of 19 countries: Angola, Burundi, Botswana, the Republic of Congo, the Comoros , Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Lesotho, Mauritania, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Eswatini, Chad, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. These countries did not show any progress in their economic performance from 1995–2008 to 2015–18. For instance, their median economic growth rate decelerated, from 5.4 per cent per year in 1995–2008 to 1.2 per cent per year in 2015–18.”
The bottom performing economies, according to the World Bank, produce almost 60 per cent of the region’s total GDP, emphasizing that the three largest countries in the region—Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola—and many commodity exporters are in this group.