If going to Nigeria for meetings there are a few practical issues you really need to take into consideration.
Firstly make sure that you will be met at the airport by somebody you know or a representative of the company you are visiting. Personal safety is a real issue in Nigeria so don’t be tempted to go off on your own — no matter how seasoned a traveller you might be.
Secondly, meetings can be difficult to arrange by phone whilst in Nigeria due to the unreliability of the inherent infrastructure. Local appointments are best made by appearing in person or through the use of hand-delivered notes. (For this reason, take a supply of company-headed stationery with you on all visits.)
Nigeria is definitely a country in which relationships are all-important and so meetings will often start and finish with a great deal of social interaction. Do not try to rush these conversations as they are vital parts of the getting-to-know-you process.
Do not expect meetings to start on time – they may do, but you cannot count on it. It is best to arrive on time yourself but be prepared to wait. Patience is necessary in many business dealings in the country.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
Nigeria’s massive oil reserves can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. The sale of crude oil represents about 70% of government revenue and an incredible 90% of the country’s exports. A blessing when oil prices are high but a real problem when prices fall dramatically. Nigeria needs to diversify away from such over-dependence on the oil industry and it needs external help to achieve this diversification.
Therefore, Nigeria definitely needs foreign investment and know-how. It probably needs what your company is selling – which must make it an attractive potential market. In addition to the country-wide need for investment across a whole range of sectors, Nigeria also has demographics on its side. Over half the population (which will be 200 million before too long) are under the age of 24. That represents a huge new potential consumer market who are aspirational and consumerist.
Is Nigeria an attractive market? Should you be looking at doing business in Nigeria?
The fact is that Nigeria is a difficult market from a number of perspectives. Corruption is often cited as the major barrier to doing business in Nigeria and it is undoubtedly true that corruption is rife in many areas of commercial activity. However, the major stumbling block when entering the Nigerian market could in fact be the local business culture. You would be very unwise the approach the Nigerian market without first trying to get a solid understanding of the way in which business is done locally. It isn’t like ‘back home’. Do some research and arrive in-country as well-informed as possible.
This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Nigerian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on: