Lagarde issues statement following Nigeria visit

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde issued a statement following her visit to Nigeria Thursday.

In her statement, Lagarde noted that Nigeria makes up the largest economic block in Sub-Saharan Africa and that it has a diverse economy that is no longer reliant on just oil and agriculture.

"Nigeria is the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest population, and its important role at the regional level has become increasingly recognized," Lagarde said. "The economy is well-diversified, no longer dominated by agriculture and oil, with services accounting for almost half of GDP, including a significant home-grown film industry and innovative startups from fashion to software development. Nigeria has also experienced a decade of strong growth, averaging 6.8 percent a year. In 2015, however, growth is expected to slow to about 3 1/4 percent, with a slight recovery in 2016."  

Lagarde met with Nigerian Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele and President Muhammadu Buhari and also addressed the Nigerian National Assembly.

“In my meetings with the authorities, we discussed how to maintain economic progress while making the transition toward more inclusive and sustainable growth,” Lagarde said. “Poverty, inequality and unemployment levels remain too high in addition to the challenge of the Boko Haram insurgency. Nigeria also has to deal with the difficulties presented by falling oil prices, reduced emerging market demand and tightening global financial conditions. This has led to sharply lower export earnings and government revenues. The non-oil sector has also been affected and financing for investment is hard to come by.”

Lagarde also met with women who represented businesses and banks in Nigeria and made a visit to the Mother Theresa Children’s Home charity organization location.

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