In 2012 Nigeria generated nearly 150 billion in exports; but in just a over a year, trade had dropped by nearly half, at 90 billion. Few know that the United States is Nigeria’s largest export destination receiving much of its revenue from oil and crude. While many Nigerians blamed the precipitous drop that rocked the Nigerian community on the fortunes of its two presiding presidents, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, few understood the machinations involved in that drop.
Most notably that drop was precipitated by the U.S.’s aggressive push for internal oil exploration, which resulted in what most Americans know as “Fracking.” With the U.S. being its largest importer (in oil), the sudden U.S. oil boom began Nigeria’s economic Bust. The instruments of Nigeria’s demise were in the works way before U.S. president Barack Obama had taken office in 2008. The administration preceding Obama fought constant legal battles to secure drilling on national reserve lands—indicating a decided bent to wean the US from foreign oil. Those legal fights centered around various areas, but most specifically the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In April 2017, the incoming Trump administration renewed those efforts to begin oil exploration in the ANWR.
While oil is Nigeria’s prime export, it also exports nearly 900 kinds of products. Despite this, the trade imbalance has proven to be Nigeria’s greatest challenge as it imports nearly 5000 products annually. With an import/export ratio at 5-to-1; Nigeria struggles to create viable revenue streams beyond oil and crude. Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari has been noted as seeking to bolster the agriculture economy in the nation by providing training and support to local farmers. Nigeria’s greatest challenge, like that being faced by AEU is creating a self-sustaining economy with a diverse market capable of sustaining the nation for years to come. Time will only tell how well Nigeria adjusts its economy, connects with potential business partners and empowers its local entrepreneurs to create robust markets for trade, exchange and export beyond oil.