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Holiday Feasts in Nigeria

Muslims around the world recently observed the holy month of Ramadan by spending their days fasting and their nights sharing family meals. The month ended with Eid al-Fitr, a celebration traditionally marked with feasts. These holidays provide an opportunity to showcase one of the most powerful aspects of Premise’s data: the ability to drill down below national-level statistics and measure trends at the city level. City economies are heavily influenced by their specific industries, geographies, and cultures. One of our newest areas of operations, Nigeria, illustrates just how different these city-level trends can be.

Kano is a large, predominantly Muslim city in northern Nigeria. In the city’s markets, prices for meat and sweets – and other items enjoyed during the holidays – remained consistently high throughout the holy month of Ramadan. After the Eid al-Fitr celebrations on July 29, however, prices for these luxury items dropped, reflecting a return to long-term trends. Prices for staple items, such as bread and other processed grains, remained fairly constant throughout the month and did not demonstrate sharp declines after the holidays.

Fig. 1 Kano Price Indices Fig. 2 Lagos Price Indices

We see different trends in Lagos, the predominantly Christian, bustling commercial center in the south. Most of Lagos’ residents do not observe Ramadan, but they do celebrate Eid, a national holiday in Nigeria. Unlike in Kano, food prices in Lagos reflected typical trends throughout the month. Celebratory items such as meat and sweets, however, show a dramatic spike right around the Eid holiday on July 29, before slowly returning towards normal. Prices for staple items such as processed grains do not show this holiday spike.

Fig. 2 Lagos Price Indices Fig. 1 Kano Price Indices

Observing city-level trends in real-time creates new possibilities for monitoring economic health, responding to food shocks, and managing supply chains. The insights from Premise’s data, however, don’t stop there. The data can also be used to monitor neighborhood-level trends – which we explored during the World Cup. But most importantly, if you find yourself in Lagos before a major holiday, be sure to stock up on meat and sweets at least two days prior to the celebrations.