Successful Entertaining in Nigeria

Nigerians are inherently friendly people and entertainment, food, the joys of life etc. are of great importance.

Business entertainment is, therefore, very important. If invited to lunch or dinner by a trusted contact you should accept — if invited by anybody you don’t know well, be very wary.

If you are entertaining local business people, make sure you do it with style in a very good restaurant. Your level of hospitality directly correlates to the seriousness of your desire to do business together.

Avoid using the left hand at meals in Nigeria, both for eating and for passing things around the table. Also, remember that many Nigerians are Muslims who do not drink alcohol.

Nigeria is largely a cash economy and you may be unable to pay with credit cards in restaurants outside the best hotels. It is important therefore to carry a sum of cash with you — but not too much as you don’t want to make yourself a target.

Unless a service charge has been included, 10 per cent tip is expected for most services

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Nigeria

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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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:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips