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Nigeria's Booming Borders: Understanding Nigeria's Unrecorded Trade

Kano, Nigeria


Leena Koni Hoffmann, Associate Fellow, Africa Programme, Chatham House
Paul Melly, Associate Fellow, Africa Programme, Chatham House
Chair: Elizabeth Donnelly, Assistant Head and Research Fellow, Africa Programme, Chatham House


Across West Africa, output and consumption have been growing steadily for a decade and they are still expanding despite the decline in international commodity prices. It seems probable that this positive trend will continue, and it needs to, if West African countries are to reduce poverty and under-employment and generate better and more diverse livelihoods for their growing populations. This need is especially great for Nigeria, the largest economy and most populous society in sub-Saharan Africa. Continuing growth in trade across Nigeria’s borders is desirable and necessary, but at present a huge proportion of this almost unstoppable traffic flows through informal channels.

This event marks the Kano launch of a new Chatham House report on Nigeria’s unrecorded trade. Its authors, Leena Koni Hoffmann and Paul Melly, will discuss the drivers and nature of Nigeria’s unofficial trade and explore how Nigeria’s cross-border trading economy can emerge from today’s constraining environment to formalize and more fully realise its potential.