"Nigeria, the most populous African nation with an estimated 149 million people, is one of the United States government's key strategic partners on the continent. It is Africa's largest producer of oil and is regularly the fifth largest oil exporter to the United States. By some estimates, Nigeria could rank among the world's top five exporters of oil within a few years, although social unrest and corruption in the country's Niger Delta region have posed significant challenges to oil production. As Africa's second largest economy, Nigeria's stability and prosperity affect not only those in the market for Nigerian oil, but the entire region. The country has faced intermittent political turmoil and economic crisis since gaining independence in 1960. […] In 2007, Nigerians witnessed the country's first civilian transfer of power with the election of a new president, Umaru Yar'Adua. Nigeria continues to face serious social and economic challenges. Although Nigeria's oil and natural gas revenues are estimated at over $50 billion per year, its human development indicators are among the world's lowest, and a majority of the population suffer from extreme poverty. […] Nigeria's most recent general elections, which the U.S. State Department called 'deeply flawed,' were held in April 2007. […] His Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, who had served as acting president since February, was subsequently sworn in as head of state. He has pledged to uphold President Yar'Adua's reform agenda and to prioritize anticorruption efforts, peace and development in the Niger Delta, and electoral reform in preparation for the upcoming 2011 elections. The Obama Administration has expressed support for these initiatives, and in April established a U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission, a strategic dialogue to address issues of mutual concern."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33964