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Nollywood helps Nigeria double its GDP

Nigeria has outstripped South Africa as Africa's largest economy after it recalculated its gross domestic product (GDP) to add in sectors, such as its Nollywood film industry, that had been left out for almost 15 years, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics said.

Nigeria's GDP has almost doubled in size following the rebasing, growing to 80.3 trillion Nigerian naira ($509.9 billion) in 2013, up from 42.3 trillion estimated before the rebasing.

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Lagos, Nigeria.
Compass Odyssey | Gallo Images | Getty Images
Lagos, Nigeria.

The new number means Nigeria's economy is now larger than that of South Africa's, which recorded a GDP of $370.3 billion at the end of 2013.

Nigeria has failed to overhaul its GDP calculations since 1990, something which most governments do every few years. New sectors have now been added to the country's output list including e-commerce, mobile phone market, music and its local film industry "Nollywood" which has produced recent African blockbusters as "Invasion 1897" and the "Margaret Thatcher" series.

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"The importance of this is that, for the first time in 15 years, we will know, scientifically, what the GDP figure is and what the contributions of every sector to the economy are. We will also be able to know the sectors that have made the most progress and which ones are lagging behind," the Nigerian Minister of Information, Labaran Maku said in a statement ahead of the announcement.

"If you're not in Nigeria, you're not in Africa. And you're kidding yourself." Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said at a press conference on Sunday.

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Nigeria's government has recently faced corruption allegations, following the president's suspension of the country's central bank governor. President Goodluck Jonathan claimed $20 billion in oil revenue had gone missing and ousted central bank chief Lamido Sanusi for "financial misconduct".

Sanusi has since been awarded $300,000 in damages by a Nigerian court after he filed a harassment case against the government.