Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer and a member of OPEC, has suffered fuel shortages over the past few weeks. They complicated transport and hurt economic activity and, in the words of President Muhammadu Buhari, ensured that for many Nigerians the Christmas holidays were “anything but merry and happy.” His administration says it’s working overtime to end the queues that have formed at gasoline stations throughout much of the country. Nigeria is about the only major African economy to experience frequent fuel scarcities.
1. What’s the reason for the shortages?
Part of the problem is that, despite pumping 1.8 million barrels a day of crude, Nigeria has to import almost all its fuel because of the decrepit state of its refineries. But in that, it isn’t alone: Most countries in Africa lack refineries.