Business environment and competitiveness across Nigerian States (BECANS) 2016 is third in the series of business environment assessment reports published by African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage) since its inception in 2007. As the flagship of AfriHeritage, the state level business environment assessment is designed to promote evidence-based policy and institutional reforms for improving the competitiveness of state-level economies in Nigeria.

While existing global investment climate assessments, such as World Bank's 'Doing Business Surveys' and World Economic Forum's 'Global Competitiveness Reports', benchmark Nigeria against other countries, the assessments provide bases for state-level internal comparisons.

The rationale is that several business environment benchmarks in Nigeria fall within the policy and institutional jurisdiction of sub-national, particularly, state governments. So, by aligning the evidence with responsible sub-national authorities, these state-level business environment analyses help to overcome the limitation of aggregated national analysis. Similarly, it is useful for self-assessment and peer review among states.

This publication is structured into four parts. Part 1 is the introduction. Part 2 is the national level synthesis showing pooled and state-level comparative performance on the overall business environment index and the individual component benchmarks. Part 3 shows the state by-state scorecards on the business environment index and its component benchmarks. Part 4 contains the appendices.

Since the first publication in 2007, Business Environment in Nigerian States has given rise to greater stakeholder awareness and better understanding about the status and comparative performance of states on key business environment indicators. Private sector organizations and civil society groups are increasingly using the evidence-based assessment reports – especially, for agenda-setting in policy advocacy and dialogues. For their part, state governments are becoming increasingly interested in their respective ratings on the business environment indicators. Perhaps, this is due either to a desire to gauge progress made since the last ranking, or to identify key targets for improvements or other needs. Beyond those, the assessment reports contain valuable up-to-date statistical data on sub-national business indicators across Nigerian states, thereby providing an important research resource.

This third report in the series of state-level business environment assessments will intensify the existing imperative for business environment reforms. The up-to-date evidence and rankings will guide private sector advocacy for business environment reforms, inform self-assessment and peer matching among states and stimulate state government actions to improve the business competitiveness of their respective jurisdictions.

We are confident that this edition will be of immense value to a wide range of business environment stakeholders including state governments, prospective investors, business communities, academics, researchers and civil society.