IMF's 2024 Economic Outlook: Implications for Nigerian Businesses
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently released the Updated 2024 Economic Outlook paints a mixed picture of Nigeria. While the report acknowledges the country's potential for growth, it also outlines several challenges that could hinder progress. As an organisation dedicated to promoting good corporate governance and director development in Nigeria, we believe it's crucial to examine the report, analyse the implications of the outlook, and equip directors with the necessary tools to steer through the patchy road of uncertainty in the business environment.

Key Takeaways from the Report

Modest Growth: The IMF forecasts a 3% GDP growth for Nigeria in 2024, slightly lower than the 3.1% projected in October 2023. This downward revision reflects a weaker performance in 2023 and the impact of ongoing monetary tightening aimed at curbing inflation.

Persisting Inflation: Inflation remains a major concern, with the IMF predicting a decline to 23% in 2024, still significantly above the Central Bank of Nigeria's target. This high inflation erodes consumer purchasing power and raises input costs for businesses, impacting profitability and investment decisions.

External Headwinds: Global economic slowdown, rising interest rates, and geopolitical tensions pose additional challenges for Nigeria. These factors could affect foreign direct investment, export earnings, and access to credit, further complicating the economic landscape.

Fiscal Pressure: According to data from the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria’s total public debt is $114.35 Billion as of December 2023. This has made her face fiscal sustainability concerns due to high debt servicing costs, potentially limiting government spending on infrastructure and other growth-stimulating initiatives.

Implications for Businesses
It is crystal clear that businesses will be impacted. Therefore, they must develop ways to stay aloof. Here are some ways they can achieve this.

Strategic Planning: Businesses need to develop robust strategic plans that factor in the projected economic slowdown and persistent inflation. This includes re-evaluating cost structures, diversifying revenue streams, and exploring alternative financing options.

Cost Optimisation: Managing costs effectively will be critical to maintaining profitability in a high-inflation environment. Businesses should explore cost-saving measures, such as negotiating better deals with suppliers, streamlining operations, and investing in technology to improve efficiency.

Market Diversification: Dependence on a single market or product can be risky in uncertain times. Businesses should consider diversifying their offerings and exploring new markets to mitigate risks and spread their customer base.

Risk Management: Strengthening risk management practices is essential to navigate the volatile economic environment. This includes anticipating potential challenges, developing contingency plans, and implementing robust risk mitigation strategies.

Focus on Corporate Governance: Effective corporate governance plays a crucial role in building investor confidence and attracting capital. Businesses should prioritize ethical practices, transparency, and accountability to ensure sustainable growth in challenging times.

Director Development: Equipping directors with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate complex economic situations is crucial. This includes providing training on risk management, financial analysis, and strategic decision-making.

The Role of Good Corporate Governance in Weathering the Storm

Good corporate governance practices are more important than ever in the face of economic uncertainty. By adhering to strong ethical principles, ensuring transparency in decision-making, and prioritizing stakeholder interests, businesses can build trust and resilience, attracting investors and navigating challenges more effectively. This includes:

Independent Board Composition: Having a board with diverse perspectives and independent directors not beholden to specific interests can ensure objective decision-making and mitigate risks.

Compliance with Regulations: Strict adherence to regulatory requirements and ethical codes fosters trust and reduces the risk of legal or reputational issues.

Effective Risk Management: Implementing robust risk management frameworks helps businesses identify, assess, and mitigate potential threats, safeguarding their financial stability and long-term viability.

Stakeholder Engagement: Open and transparent communication with stakeholders, including investors, employees, and communities, builds trust and fosters collaboration, leading to more sustainable growth.


The IMF's 2024 Economic Outlook presents both challenges and opportunities for Nigerian businesses. By adopting a proactive approach, focusing on strategic planning, cost optimisation, market diversification, risk management, and good corporate governance, businesses can pull through the uncertainty and emerge stronger. Embracing these principles and investing in director development will be crucial for Nigerian businesses to not only survive but thrive in the evolving economic landscape.

Research & Advocacy Department,

Chartered Institute of Directors (CIoD), Nigeria

28, Cameron Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Elevating Board Effectiveness for Corporate Governance Excellence