ABUJA: Nigeria’s economy grew just over 4% in the third quarter, the statistics office said on Thursday, lifted by higher oil prices, as the country targets mass COVID-19 vaccination from this month.
Growth rose for the fourth consecutive quarter ending Sept. 30, after a COVID-19-induced recession. Inflation fell for the seventh straight month in October, less than a week before the central bank makes a decision on interest rates.
“The prospect of full recovery is glaring … provided we sustain the performance,” Simon Harry, head of National Bureau of Statistics said.
Nigeria had been grappling with low growth before the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a recession and created large financing gaps, including dollar shortages and inflation.
It has relied on ad-hoc measures to maintain external liquidity, Fitch said on Monday, with recent dollar loans helping to boost reserves. A renewed downturn in oil prices and a reserves depletion would be negative for ratings, it said.
Rising oil prices, Nigeria’s main export, have also helped. Production of oil, which accounts for around two-thirds of Nigerian government revenue and 90% of its foreign exchange reserves, dropped to 1.57 million barrels per day in the third quarter.
The World Bank has said Nigeria’s growth lags the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Its economy is estimated to grow up to 3% this year, with increased vaccinations against coronavirus.
Africa’s most-populous country has a goal to vaccinate more than half of its 200 million population to reach herd immunity. To date, only 2.9% of those eligible to get vaccines have been inoculated.