There are many reasons why Nigeria remains a compelling consideration for any investor seeking to participate in the economic potential that the African continent represents.
Nigerians are entrepreneurial, hard-working and have a can-do spirit that translates to energetic optimism. The Nigerian economy, the largest on the continent, is powered by a private sector which regularly innovates to meet the growing needs of the large domestic market. The increasingly sophisticated needs of Nigerian consumers in the retail, entertainment and service sectors are as likely to be served by innovative and ambitious small and medium companies, as by large local and global brands.
Then there is the scale and demographic structure of its 196 million population, which is estimated to become the world’s third-largest by 2050. With a median age under 19, Nigeria has a large population of tech-savvy, hard-working, optimistic and mobile youth. About 90% of the population is under 50, providing the assurance of a large, English-speaking talent pool for many years into the future.
Nigeria also has abundant natural resources. The country is ranked as one of the world’s top 10 for proven oil and gas reserves and is wealthy in minerals such as tin and iron ore. Nigeria is also home to some of Africa’s most productive agricultural land: its agricultural zones, which stretch from the tropical savanna in the north to the coastal rainforest in the south, the mangrove of the Niger Delta complemented by tropical and semi-temperate weather prevalent across the country, support the cultivation of a wide variety of agricultural produce from exotic fruits, vegetables and tree crops to root crops. Just as important, many of its current economic growth drivers are unashamedly 21st Century, including telecoms and financial services, media and manufacturing.
It is well located strategically, just one hour ahead of GMT and within easy trading distance of Africa’s largest business centres, from Cairo to Johannesburg, Addis Ababa to Casablanca. Its land borders with Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger make it a natural hub for the West African region. And its trading infrastructure is strong and resilient, with four international airports, three major seaports and fast-improving road and rail networks.
Although the above factors all combine to make Nigeria an essential component of any pan-African strategy, the country’s growing economic success is about much more than population, geology and geography.
The value of Nigeria’s trade has more than quadrupled during two decades of stable civilian government. In 2018 alone, the economy grew by US$21.1 billion – that’s more than the combined GDP of Rwanda and the Niger Republic. The cost of doing business in Nigeria is also competitive, in comparison to similar developing markets across the world.
Growth is accelerating as the government’s recent reforms, aimed at improving the business climate, take firmer hold. In the last three years, 140 such reforms have significantly streamlined many important processes, from a 360% reduction in the time taken to file corporate income taxes to a 26% fall in the cost of registering a business and a 30% reduction in import documentation.
These changes are reflected in how Nigeria is perceived externally. It is rising rapidly up the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ league table, moving 36 places since 2016 and with the goal of being ranked in the world’s top 70 countries by 2023. The Government’s commitment to improving the business climate and institutionalising its broad-based reform efforts are important for meeting this ambition. This is supported by generous incentives and investor protections, improving the attraction for anybody aiming to realise the opportunities offered by doing business in Nigeria.
This Nigerian Investment Guide has been created to help you understand these opportunities and find out about the organisations, processes and services in place to help you make the most of them. This is necessarily a high-level introductory overview – if you need more detailed guidance on specific industries or market sectors, further resources are available at www.nipc.gov.ng, the website of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), the government agency mandated to encourage, promote and coordinate investments in Nigeria. I hope you find this guide informative and useful.
I hope it gives you the insights you need into the prospects of doing business in one of the world’s most exciting developing economies.
Download the full Nigerian Investment Guide here