The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a large country in West Africa, whose coast lies on the Gulf of Guinea. Known as the "Giant of Africa", Nigeria has the largest population and economy on the African continent. Nigeria is a multinational state that is inhabited by over five hundred ethnic groups, each with their own languages and cultures. The Niger Delta in the south is rich with hydrocarbons. These natural resources underpin Nigeria's economy.
Nigeria's constitution is a framework for a democratic, secular society, which has been independent from the United Kingdom since 1960. Previously administered as two separate territories, the north and the south of Nigeria approximately divides the population in half, with the north being predominantly Muslim, and the south Christian. Three ethnicities comprise the majority of Nigeria's population, who are largely demographically segregated into geographic areas. Ethnic and religious tensions still exist between the different regions of Nigeria, with a violent religious nationalist movement in the north-east.
Following a succession of military juntas and aborted civilian governments, a constitution allowing for multi-party elections was first ratified in 1999. Its history of authoritarian regimes is cited being responsible for the culture of prebendalism and corruption in Nigeria. The three dominant ethnicities of Nigeria are preeminent in its politics. The most recent presidential election of 2015 was considered to be generally free and fair by national and international observers, with limited civil unrest during the transferral of power.
The oil industry yields 75% of the government's budgetary revenues. Cabinet ministers are responsible for the publicly owned companies in the sector, but mismanagement results in low yields, and the requirement to import oil products for domestic consumption. Ineffective revenue administration and a large informal sector results in only 3.8% of Nigeria's GDP being contributed by taxes. Very high government tariffs fuel large smuggling operations to import goods.
Despite extensive natural resource wealth and a diverse economy, 62% of Nigerians live in extreme poverty. Inequality is pronounced in the southern oil and gas producing region. Ecological destruction and the presence of foreign oil companies in the Niger Delta has caused conflict, and the formation of a nationalist movement. Nigeria has the second most pirated coastline in Africa.
Nigeria's infrastructure and public services have been chronically underdeveloped. Foreign aid has declined as the nation's GDP has risen, and foreign investment has been curtailed by corruption, insecurity, restrictive trade policies, and an inconsistent regulatory environment. Gender inequality is high, with a 20% gap in literacy rates, and a significant incidence of Female Genital Mutilation being strong indicators.