Nigeria is a Small Petrostate Attached to a Large Country
Africa's most populous nation has a surprisingly unified multiethnic elite, but lacks functional institutions to cope with insurgencies, a stagnant economy, and a government dependent on oil.
In 2022, Nigeria officially surpassed Brazil to become the world’s sixth-most populous country, with an estimated population of 219 million people.1 Aside from the top three of India, China, and the United States, the only other countries with more people than Nigeria now are Pakistan and Indonesia. Importantly, at 5.2 children per woman, Nigeria also has by far the highest fertility rate of any of these demographic giants.2 Future projections can vary widely and change substantially in response to new numbers on the ground. All projections nonetheless agree that Africa will significantly grow in population relative to other continents, perhaps reaching 4.2 billion people and 40% of the global population by 2100.3 Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. This vast growth, both absolutely and relatively, creates the potential for live players in Nigeria to have an outsized influence on the political and economic shape of the world this century, but only if functional institutions can be built.