Fact CheckPolitics

Is Lagos the third largest economy in Africa as Shettima claims?

Claim: The Vice Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Kashim Shettima, claims that Lagos State is the third largest economy in Africa.

FALSE! Our findings show Lagos is neither the third largest economy in Africa nor is it in the top three business cities in Africa. 

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At the 2022 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference, some presidential candidates addressed Nigerians on key issues on Monday, August 22, 2022.

Candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, Labour Congress (LP), Peter Obi and Kashim Shettima, the vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), headlined the event.

Mr Kashim represented Mr Tinubu at the conference where the candidates presented some of their plans should they be elected.

During his speech, Mr Shettima made a claim that Lagos is the third largest economy in Africa. 

“When Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu became the governor of Lagos State in 1999, there was only one ambulance in the service of Lagos State. Lagos was earning a measly sum of 700 million every month as internally generated revenue. Now, Lagos is earning 51 billion as its internally generated revenue. Lagos is the third largest economy in Africa,” the former Borno State governor said.

Screenshot of Mr Shettima giving his speech recorded by TVC news. 

The importance of this claim and its potential effect on voters’ decisions prompted DUBAWA to verify this claim. 


DUBAWA carried out a keyword search and sought available statistics to verify this claim. 

In 2017, the former Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said that Lagos State would be the third largest economy in Africa by 2020.

According to the World Economic Outlook database, Africa’s largest economies are Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt. This was also reported by Statistics Times. 

According to the report, these three countries make up nearly half of Africa’s economy. Egypt’s GDP is more than twice Algeria’s GDP, which is ranked fourth. The smallest economy in Africa is that of Sao Tomé and Principe.

Statista Global Business Cities index of 2022 also has Egypt’s Cairo as the top business city in the whole of Africa, with Lagos City coming a distant eight in the ranking.

Image of the statistics from Statista

The above ranking was achieved by evaluating economically relevant cities from around the world based on the most pertinent data for decisions at the corporate level. Also, indices like population size and GDP play an important role in determining the extent to which a city is suitable as a business location.

Statista also revealed that Nigeria has the biggest GDP in Africa in 2021, with 441.5 billion dollars. South Africa, meanwhile, had the second-highest GDP on the continent, at 418 billion dollars.

Notably, two other North African nations, Algeria and Morocco, followed Egypt, the third-largest economy on the list of largest economies in Africa.

The Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budgetary (MEPB), in its publication covering 2013 to 2021, revealed that Lagos State ranks fourth on the 2020 list of African richest economies using the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) calculation. The ranking has Cairo, Johannesburg, and Cape Town as the first, second and third cities, respectively.

Contrary to the claim, Lagos State is not the third largest economy in Africa, but Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa. Also, Lagos is number eight on the Statista chart showing the top business cities in Africa.

We, however, reached out to Mr Shettima and his personal assistant, Ahmed Ningi, to ask for his primary source of the claim, but all efforts proved abortive.


Our findings show Lagos is not the third largest economy in Africa, and neither is it in the top three business cities in Africa. 

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