Nigeria: rightly taking its place on the world stage

The Lancet
Mar 19, 2022 Volume 399 Number 10330 p1093-1200, e15-e16


Nigeria: rightly taking its place on the world stage
The Lancet
Nigeria is emerging as a world power. It has great intellectual, cultural, and social capital, as well as financial assets. It dominates west Africa, having more than half of the region’s population, and has the highest gross domestic product on the continent. The population of more than 200 million is projected to double by 2050, and to reach 733 million by 2100—making Nigeria the third most populous country in the world, after China and India. This rapid population growth has been accelerated by falling infant mortality combined with a steady birth rate and can create a demographic dividend for Nigeria. But to take advantage of this situation, appropriate investments in health, education, and skills need to be made. Published today, The Lancet Nigeria Commission: investing in health and the future of the nation, views this human potential and extraordinary opportunity through a health lens, telling the story of Nigeria as shaped by the country’s history and present circumstances. Written by a team of experts working at institutions across the country, and members of the diaspora, it has been led by Nigerians for Nigerians.
This potential might not be realised if the country does not address intractable poverty and extreme inequality. Recent trends in health outcomes, as detailed in the accompanying Article published today, record 20 years of increased healthy life expectancy (although it is still low within the region, at 56 years), reductions in mortality for males and females of all ages, and rises in health expenditure but, overall, health outcomes are still poor. Nigeria has repeatedly failed to realise the health gains promised by multiple political leaders, and this failure is holding the country back…