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Africa’s Biggest Economy is in Recession for the First Time since 2016

Nigeria has slipped into a recession after its gross domestic product contracted for the second consecutive quarter, according to official data released. The recession four years ago was its first in a generation, and the country emerged from it the following year. However, growth has been fragile and COVID-19 has hit the economy hard, amid low oil prices. The continent’s top oil producer and exporter relies on crude sales for 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings. Nigeria normally accounts for an average output of two million barrels per day. But the effects of the pandemic and low oil prices have cut production to approximately 1.4 million barrels. The oil sector contracted by 13.89 percent in the third quarter against growth of 6.49 percent in the same period a year earlier, according to data cited by the country’s statistician general, while non-oil sectors shrank by 2.51 percent in the three months to September. The government had previously said it expected the economy to contract by as much as 8.9 percent this year in a worst-case scenario without stimulus. The International Monetary Fund has forecast a 5.4-percent drop in Nigeria’s GDP this year.