Moving to Nigeria

Known as the Giant of Africa, due to the size of its population (the largest on the continent) and its economy (on track to become one of the world’s top 20 by 2020), Nigeria not only attracts immigrant workers to the oil wells of the Niger Delta but is also increasingly enticing back expats - those who moved away in search of the prosperity that is now becoming a reality at home.

Classed by the World Bank as a middle income country Nigeria has the natural resources, stable government and infrastructure to avoid falling into the usual trap of middle income countries: remaining at middle income level indefinitely. The country does not lean on its status as an oil exporter but has developed a diversified economy - which includes a large communications sector and a small but growing mining industry - since the return of democracy in 1999 after 33 years of military rule.

Nigeria is located in West Africa, a landscape which ranges from tropical rainforests in the far south, through grassy savannah of the middle belt, to the near deserts of the northern border with Niger. In the nation’s capital, Abuja, temperatures range from 18 °C to 36 °C.

A rich cultural diversity sees over 250 ethnic groups, speaking more than 500 languages, living side-by-side. The religious breakdown is roughly half Christian, half Muslim with the former largely inhabiting the south and center and the latter mostly found in the north. Cultural exports include a richly spiced, aromatic cuisine, the Afrobeat music of Fela Kuti and the Nobel winning literature of Wole Soyinka.

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But Nigeria’s development is still at an intermediate stage and the country has several major obstacles to overcome before moving into the top 20 economies: an education system that has been described as ‘dysfunctional’ sees only 32% of males and 27% of females attending secondary school; widespread organised crime and political corruption; and a poor human rights record.

Healthcare in Nigeria leaves a lot to be desired too. For more on the healthcare situation in Nigeria for expats, read our informative guide covering everything you'll need to know before your move.