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Nigerians

Masters of working the land, the Nigerians grow produce beyond compare - in both quantity and diversity.

Formed in 1914 through the amalgamation of the West African territories under the British protectorate, Nigeria unites a wide variety of cultures under the rule of one state. Although built around three main linguistic hubs (Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo), the country brings together speakers of more than 450 languages, making it one of the countries with the highest density of spoken languages in the world. The variety of its environment and the abundance of its hydraulic resources offer it significant agricultural opportunities and make it one of West Africa’s foremost producers.

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Since the country’s independence in 1960, Nigerian politics have been significantly marked by two major underlying trends. The first – the construction of a lasting civil power after the military coups – unraveled with the emergence of the Fourth Republic which, since 1999, has overseen the country’s democratic transition. The second was the increased ability of the Government of the Federal Republic to respond to the autonomist aspirations of the federated states following the 1967-70 civil war between Nigeria and Biafra.
Today, Nigeria is a federation of 36 states with a population of over 200 million. Highly urbanized, the country has 24 cities with populations of over one million, including Lagos, Africa’s largest metropolitan area with a population close to 22 million. It has one of the strongest economies in Africa, which is mainly attributable to its gas and oil reserves, from which the government derives most of its income.
Agriculture still employs 36% of the working population and draws on the three ecological biomes – the Sahelian savannah, the Guinean savannah, and the forests – that span the country. So, while in the north, groundnuts, cotton and extensive livestock rearing predominate, the south is home to cocoa, oil-palm, and banana plantations. Most agricultural production still depends on smallholdings of subsistence crops that supply all the markets. They explain why the country ranks number one in the world for the production of cassava, yam, taro and cowpea.

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The country’s broad spectrum of languages and cultures also proved to be a significant advantage in the development of the Nigerian film industry in the 1990s. Taking advantage of the transnational nature of the country’s leading languages, Nigeria has become one of the largest film industries in the world with Nollywood productions predominantly being exported beyond the country’s national borders.