LAGOS, Nigeria—In Africa’s top economy, the oil bust is beginning to hit the streets.
With 187 million people, and trillions of dollars in untapped crude oil, Nigeria was meant to power Africa’s rise. Instead, it is becoming—for the moment—a symbol of how fast and far low oil prices have dragged emerging markets down.
Months of dwindling oil revenue have prompted a scarcity of dollars here, as the government hoards foreign currency to safeguard shrinking reserves. That is starting to hit Nigerians rich and poor alike: On Monday, the country’s stock market fell almost 3% on news that MSCI is considering removing the country from its benchmark frontier markets index.
Meanwhile, the World Bank said Nigeria’s economic growth slid to 2.8% in 2015 from 6.3% the year before, and the International Monetary Fund says this year’s growth will slip to 2.3%, slower than the population, which adds 13,000 people daily.
Factories are closing because they can’t find dollars to import parts. Supermarkets are struggling to keep shelves stocked. Power plants have virtually stopped producing electricity because they can’t pay for maintenance. New shopping malls are empty and ordinary citizens are going to lengths to find some basic goods.
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