Nigeria has been in the news recently, mostly for all the wrong reasons. With cases of Ebola being reported and the presence of Boko Haram, Nigeria can seem like a different planet. However, the country is not exactly what Western media portrays it to be. With a large population, an economy in which entrepreneurs like Alexander F. Bouri have made a name for themselves, a thriving movie business, and a large Christian population, Nigeria is not the exotic place that many people may think it is.
Not Exactly Desolate
It’s safe to say that the average American doesn’t know much about the economic and societal makeup of Africa, let alone the specifics of each country within the continent. Nigeria is called “the Giant of Africa,” in reference to the size of the population and the economy. With approximately 174 million residents, Nigeria has the highest population on the continent and is the seventh most populous country in the world.
Economically, Nigeria is on the rise. With a GDP of 500 million dollars, it is ranked 26th in the world and economists believe it has the potential to be in the top 20 in the next 50 years. The success of the Nigerian economy is tied primarily to its oil reserves, but the economic climate does allow for some success in other markets. Alexander F. Bouri, the chairman of Seament and a prominent leader in cement trading, got his start in Nigeria.
A Secret Leader in the Arts
Quick! Name the second most prolific country when it comes to releasing movies? Did you say India? No, actually India is number one. The United States? Up until recently, that guess would’ve been correct, but no. Nigeria produces the second largest number of movies each year. They’ve become so big that they even have a name for their movie industry: Nollywood.
There are also plenty of famous people that are from Nigeria. Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Oscar-nominated lead of 12 Years a Slave, is of Nigerian parentage and singer Sade and NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon were both born there.
A Large Christian Population
If you had to guess the major religions of Nigeria, you probably would bet against Christianity, but it’s actually nearly tied with Islam for the most popular religion. Islam makes up around half of the population while Christianity accounts for about 48%. Nigeria has the highest population of Christians in Africa, accounting for over 80 million.
Nigeria may be on an entirely different continent than the United States, but it’s not as different as it may seem.