Local Content Policies and Backward Integration in Nigeria

Neil McCulloch, Neil Balchin, Max Mendez-Parra and Kingsley Onyeka, October 2017



Nigeria has experienced rapid but low-quality growth over the past decade. This has been accompanied by limited structural change and little economic transformation. The share of manufacturing in Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) is low relative to that in comparator countries, and the country’s heavy reliance on oil and gas exports has meant little attention has been paid to developing the manufacturing sector or diversifying into more complex products.

There is a clear need for greater diversification of the Nigerian economy to promote quality growth, economic transformation and employment. This can be aided by the development of value chains that facilitate higher-value added processing and manufacturing activities within Nigeria and make greater use of locally produced inputs and services in production through the creation of backward linkages. The latter can have positive effects in terms of stimulating economic development; promoting the development of local industries; creating economic linkages; building local capacity, capabilities and technologies; developing skills within the workforce; boosting employment; and minimising capital flight. Greater use of local content and more extensive backward linkages can also help Nigeria avoid the resource curse.

This report, produced in partnership with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and launched at the Group’s annual Economic Summit in Abuja, analyses the different local policies options to increase backward and forward linkages in the Nigerian manufacturing sector. This includes a review of the legislation that supports local content policies in the country, a literature review to identify how said policies have operated in different sectors in Nigeria as well as international experience in comparable countries such as Brazil and Indonesia, firm data to quantify backward integration in Nigeria, and finally, policy recommendations for the Nigerian government to move forward on this agenda.

Photo credit: ©IFPRI/Milo Mitchell. License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.