Nigeria is highly dependent on the imports of goods, such as
refined petrol, cars, smartphones, cereals, and pharmaceuticals, the United
Nations has affirmed.
This was disclosed by the United Nations Conference on Trade
and Development in its recently released report titled, ‘The Economic
Development in Africa Report 2023: The Potential of Africa to Capture
Technology-intensive Global Supply Chains.’
This revelation comes as the UN opined that Africa could
position itself as a geographic alternative and optimise its strategic value
for future leading-edge supply chains as many companies across the world
rethink their supply chain strategies to address gaps and mitigate risks,
According to the UN department, Africa needs to play a more
impactful role in the global supply chain and build resilience, especially
because of its large consumer market.
The UN agency, however, noted that an important precondition
for Africa to play a more impactful role in global supply chains and build
resilience to the disruptive nature of shocks will be to address its supply
It expanded that the key barriers to logistics and supply
chains on the continent include poor infrastructure (transport, warehouse and
other facilities), informality, weak institutions and regulations, fragmented
markets, limited sources of capital, low levels of technology and political
It said, “These barriers can increase the cost of doing
business and trade in many African countries, especially those that rely
heavily on foreign imports of goods and services. For example, a country such
as Nigeria, which has a population exceeding 200 million, is one of the biggest
economies in the region (United Nations, 2022). Yet it remains highly dependent
on the import of goods, such as refined petroleum oils, cars, smartphones,
cereals, and pharmaceuticals, to satisfy its consumers (Observatory of Economic
Complexity, 2022; Statista, 2023).”
The Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Rebeca Grynspan, said the
continent’s growing population and large consumer market presents it with an
advantage, as firms look for new destinations.
Grynspan said, “Africa’s growing population, increasingly
large consumer markets, and expanding business opportunities are major sources
of growth and prosperity for the world and key factors that position Africa as
a strategic region in the drive for geographically diversified supply chains.
“Moreover, Africa’s large reserves of critical minerals that
are vital for global supply chains of high technology-intensive industries can
turn African economies into key suppliers of parts and components in the
automotive, electronics, renewable energy, and medical devices sectors.”
The agency further revealed that many factors can influence
a company’s decision to relocate parts of its supply chain to another country
or region, and this includes a conducive environment for increased
productivity, high-growth markets, high-profit entrepreneurship, an active and
technology-oriented workforce, and a dynamic consumer base.
It noted that Nigeria experienced subdued growth in 2022,
with inflation, power supply challenges, and lower-than-expected oil production
affecting economic performance in the country.
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