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Doing Business in Nigeria

One of the oldest locations showing signs of human existence with evidence dating back as far as 9000, BC Nigeria has the potential to become one of the strongest economies of the world – even tipped by some tipped to top the charts by 2050. Nigeria has the largest population in Africa and one of the biggest in the entire world, with more than 250 ethnic groups amongst its population and roughly 65% younger than 25 years. The Nigerian government runs on a democratic presidential system and despite recent socio-political instability the future seems to promise a greater degree of stability.

The economy has become the largest in Africa and is highly dependent on revenue from oil and gas – being the one of the largest producers of crude oil globally. Changes have now been proposed to help diversify the economy with other industries showing significant growth opportunities being consumer goods and retail, real estate, agriculture and infrastructure. The Nigerian government has also introduced a number of incentives to attract foreign investors. These include a favourable company income tax, Pioneer Status Grants, Free Trade Zones and tax relief for research and development. Investors can also repatriate 100% of profits and dividends, while full ownership of companies is granted in all sectors apart from oil and gas.

Beside these advantages, the potential challenges of doing business in Nigeria include corruption, cyber threat and political risk with violence, terrorism and ransom-oriented kidnappings still present. Furthermore, risk-managers cite difficult macroeconomic conditions and market volatility as other obstacles to be aware of when considering to business in this part of Africa. For these reasons Nigeria may be better suited to experienced and established export missions rather than early-stage start-up companies.

The keys to successful business interactions in Nigeria are adaptability, flexibility and patience. Establishing personal relationships is important with the introductory section of meetings often lasting more than an hour.

The World Business Culture website is an invaluable resource for acquainting yourself with the legal, financial and cultural structures of doing business in Nigeria so as to ensure maximum success.