More information about Nigeria is available on the Nigeria Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Nigeria in 1960, following Nigeria’s independence from the United Kingdom. From 1966 to 1999, Nigeria experienced a series of military coups, excluding the short-lived second republic between 1979 and 1983. The 30-month long civil war, which ended in January 1970, resulted in 1-3 million casualties. Following the 1999 inauguration of a civilian president, the U.S.-Nigerian relationship began to improve, as did cooperation on foreign policy goals such as regional peacekeeping.
Nigeria is the largest economy and most populous country in Africa, with an estimated population of over 230 million, which is expected to approach 400 million by 2050 as Nigeria becomes the world’s fourth most populous country. Nigeria had an estimated gross domestic product of 477 billion USD in 2022. Although Nigeria’s economy has become more diversified, crude oil sales have continued to be the main source of export earnings. Despite persistent structural weaknesses such as deficient transportation, electricity, and sanitation infrastructure, the Nigerian economy grew briskly for the decade ending in 2013. In 2016 and 2017 Nigeria experienced its first recession in over two decades before rebounding in 2018. After a steep decline amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, as of 2022 Nigeria’s economy had roughly returned to pre-pandemic production. The World Bank projects that the economy will grow by an average of 2.9 percent between 2023 and 2025, just above the estimated population growth rate of 2.4 percent. Nigeria faces significant human development challenges, ranking 150 of 157 countries in the World Bank’s 2020 Human Capital Index. The country has struggled to develop effective systems to address corruption, poverty, and social service delivery, contributing to widespread and longstanding public mistrust of government. Nigeria has also experienced growing insecurity in recent years due to terrorism, inter-communal conflicts, criminal banditry and kidnapping, and maritime piracy, among other security and rule of law challenges.
Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was elected president on February 25, 2023 in a competitive presidential race involving four major candidates. He was sworn into office on May 29, 2023, following the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari, who stepped down after serving two terms in office from 2015 to 2023. The United States has long supported and remains committed to supporting Nigerian institutions and the Nigerian people in their efforts to conduct free, fair, transparent, and peaceful elections.
Then-President Muhammadu Buhari participated in the December 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington D.C. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris met with then-Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in September 2022 to discuss shared global challenges, energy access and climate goals, security challenges, and the importance of free and fair elections. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Nigeria in November 2021 and discussed furthering cooperation on global health security, expanding energy access and economic growth, and revitalizing democracy. In addition to these and numerous other high-level engagements, the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission (BNC) has provided a key forum for high-level discussions since 2010. The most recent BNC was held on February 3, 2020, in Washington D.C. The BNC meetings have focused on key areas of mutual interest, including good governance, anti-corruption efforts, trade, investment, development, food security, security, and counter-terrorism efforts.
U.S. Assistance to Nigeria
Through U.S. assistance to Nigeria, the U.S. Government works to protect Americans from terrorism and disease, create opportunity for trade and investment, and support a more stable and prosperous country that is a partner in advancing our global priorities. U.S. assistance supports Nigerian efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, promote good governance and counter corruption, and improve security while addressing the factors that drive conflict and providing life-saving assistance to those affected by terrorism. U.S. assistance also aims to build institutional capacity in the provision of health and education services and increase agricultural productivity and food security. More details on foreign assistance to Nigeria can be found here.
The United States is the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, with U.S. foreign direct investment concentrated largely in the petroleum/mining and wholesale trade sectors. In 2022, the two-way trade in goods between the United States and Nigeria totaled over $8.1 billion. At $3.4 billion in 2022, Nigeria is the second largest U.S. export destination in Sub-Saharan Africa. U.S. exports to Nigeria include vehicles, wheat, machinery, fuels, and plastics. Nigerian exports to the United States include crude oil, cocoa, cashew nuts, and animal feed. Multiple U.S.-based film and entertainment companies are active in Nigeria, and Nigeria’s creative industries have significant export potential. Nigeria is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Nigeria is an important U.S. security partner in Africa. Nigeria is engaged in intensive efforts to defeat terrorist organizations within its borders, including Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa (ISIS-WA). U.S. security cooperation to strengthens the capacity of Nigeria’s security forces and security institutions to respond effectively to these and other security threats, while prioritizing avoidance of civilian harm and promoting respect for human rights. Nigeria is a vital member of the Defeat ISIS (D-ISIS) coalition and in October 2020, Nigeria co-hosted a virtual D-ISIS conference with the United States.
Nigeria’s Membership in International Organizations
Nigeria and the United States are both members of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, and a number of other international organizations. Nigeria is a member of the African Union as well as being a member of and home to the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). President Bola Tinubu serves as the current Chairperson of ECOWAS. Nigeria also is an observer to the Organization of American States.
Principal embassy and consulate officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Nigeria maintains an embassy in the United States at 3519 International Place, NW, Washington, DC 20008, (tel: 202-800-7201, ext 113).
More information about Nigeria is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Nigeria Page
USAID Nigeria Page
History of U.S. Relations With Nigeria
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies