Last weekend, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released information on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2021, showing that the economy had grown by 0.5% compared to the same period in 2020. Cue debate over whether this figure is good or bad (it’s not).
Neither the released figure nor the subsequent debates would have resonated with the average Nigerian. It seems strange to summarise the economy in a single number. Even the “economy” sounds abstract.
What is the economy? Or, better, what is the Nigerian economy?
One way of answering this question is by looking at the things that make up the economy: The Bureau de Change outlet on the next street, your family farm cultivated by distant relatives for subsistence, trailers hauling petrol from the Apapa Port in Lagos to the far corners of the nation. Billions of these examples come together to constitute