South Africa’s return as Africa’s biggest economy

AFTER losing out to Nigeria the title of Africa’s biggest economy, South Africa, in just two years, has regained the top spot. It is not that everything is well economically with the former apartheid enclave. In fact, the economy in that country is also dwindling as a result of widespread corruption, unfulfilled government promises to the people, falling prices of commodities, among others, but South Africa does not rely on a single resource as Nigeria relies only on oil for survival.

So the fall in oil price has drastically affected Nigeria so much that it could not sustain its leadership as the biggest economy on the African continent.

Even while we celebrated our economy overtaking South Africa’s two years ago, I didn’t believe that reflected in the lives of ordinary citizens. While Nigeria is struggling to generate5,000MW of electricity, South Africa generates over 45,000MW. The country can be likened to any other country in Western Europe, with Cape Town even beating many other cities in Europe in terms of beauty and infrastructure.

In the case of Nigeria, while we had our ego massaged because of the title of being named Africa’s biggest economy, our citizens did not feel the impact of such.

Today, things have returned to the way they were, as South Africa has regained its number position on the continent. In fact, if the truth must be told, we are just being over-ambitious comparing ourselves with South Africa when countries like Ghana, Togo, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, among other West African countries have better living indices than us.

It is high time our leaders returned to the vision of our founding fathers who believed we could use our human and natural resources to lead the way for other black nations of the world to follow. It is, therefore, a shame that we have not been able to be counted as a country that is desirous of real economic growth. Our over-dependence on crude oil has made our people lazy, and such, it has been fuelling corruption in the country.

I, therefore, want to advise the government of President Muhammadu Buhari not to be distracted with wanting the country to be Africa’s biggest economy. It should, however, be more concerned about how to make the country more comfortable for its citizens to live in.


  • James Linus,


Plateau State.