Nigeria takes charge of its own destiny.

The chart above plots the annual change in Nigeria's GDP over the past decade against the annual percentage change in purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita GDP. Normally, PPP is expressed in US$ and used to give a comparative sense of the standard of living among countries.

In this chart though, the annual percentage change in PPP as seen in contrast to the percentage change in GDP presents a rough idea of the status of the Nigerian consumer. The gap between the two sets of statistics demonstrates that whatever progress the country is making in managing its macroeconomic statistics is not filtering down to the country's consumers to positively affect the quality of life.

Add to this the fact that Nigeria's average rate of inflation for the decade, using International Monetary Fund (IMF) statistics, is 13.5 percent, and the viability of the country's consumer sector becomes starkly questionable.

But all this may be about to change.

And anything notable in the development of the Nigerian economy is significant for the Sub-Saharan region, and the world economy, because of the size of Nigeria's consumer base, at 137.5-million the biggest in all of Africa, and the rank of its economy-number two after South Africa.

On October 17, 2005, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a press release welcoming Nigeria to the IMF's new Policy Support Instrument (PSI) program-basically a formal consulting engagement that could lead to financial support but is not guaranteed to provide financial support.

What is remarkable about this event is that a country has to ask for the IMF's PSI help. The IMF release points to the "homegrown" nature of the public service, business climate, budget, civil service, banking, trade, governance and transparency measures as ambitious, and further cites "broad domestic ownership" of these proposals.

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