"Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, with an estimated 135 million people, has faced intermittent political turmoil and economic crisis since gaining independence in October 1960. After 16 years of military rule, Nigeria made a transition to civilian governance in 1999, when Olusegun Obasanjo, a former general, was elected president. Efforts to allow Obasanjo to stand for a third term were defeated in 2006. In May 2007, Obasanjo transferred power to a new administration, marking the country's first transfer of power from one civilian government to another. Nigeria faces serious social and economic challenges. Although Nigeria's oil and natural gas revenues are estimated at over $40 billion per year, its human development indicators are among the world's lowest, and a majority of the population suffer from extreme poverty. Nigeria also played an important role in facilitating negotiations between the government of Sudan and the Darfur rebels. Nigerian troops have played a vital role in peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and are currently in Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sudan. Nigeria is one of the United States' key strategic partners in Africa. The country is Africa's largest producer of oil, and is America's fifth largest oil provider. According to some estimates, Nigeria could replace Norway as the world's third largest exporter of oil by 2010. As the continent's second largest economy, Nigeria's stability and prosperity affect not only those in the market for Nigerian oil, but the entire region."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33964