When you hear “Nigeria” many thoughts run through your mind. You begin to think of every possible reason why that name seems to evoke some emotion in those that hear it; for better or for worse.
Many have come to associate the name of the most populous black nation on earth with corruption and its ilk. This may not be totally incorrect but this stance avoids the finer points of the Nigerian idea, most especially those that concern the business status of the “Heart of Africa”.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you may want to disregard this allusion to corruption and think about the many possibilities that the country offer to business-minded leaders.
Here are 7 reasons why entrepreneurs should be looking in Nigeria’s direction:
1. Human Capital: Nigeria is the 7th most populous country in the world and the most populous black nation on earth. There are also huge feelers that by 2050, the country situated at the “heart of Africa” will overtake at least four countries including the United States in the population index as it has the highest fertility rate of the top 20 most populous countries in the world. This, coupled with the fact that its rural-urban population spread is almost even, means that in whatever area you intend to pitch your tent – rural or urban locations, you will find the human capital to meet your target.
2. Natural Resources: According to the Deputy Director, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Nigeria is blessed with 84 million hectares of arable land for agricultural cultivation, agro-allied ventures and its value chain businesses. In addition, the country has the largest gas reserves in Africa and the 9th largest in the world, in addition to 44 exploitable minerals in proven commercial quantities. Now, that’s enough to turn the heads of a would-be investor as this means that in whatever industry you decide to invest, you can expect to make profits in the medium and long-term.
3. Targeted population/large consumer market: According to EIE – an NGO committed to good governance and public accountability in Nigeria, about 70% of the total population are 30 years and below. This opens a new vista of opportunities to the entrepreneur as you can target them in our Internet-driven world. Entrepreneurs can also expect that whatever they bring to the market will find willing buyers
4. Economic Resources: Nigeria’s GDP is growing at an impressive rate meaning that there are innovative ideas and policies being initiated most especially by the government to aid steady growth. The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita currently sits at $2,260 and it has been projected to leap to US$2,907 by 2020. This surge is expected to boost consumption and domestic demand, while also boosting the purchasing power of the citizens.
Some policies have also been enacted that seek to revive the agricultural sector among other sectors. These policies which are in full gear, have placed Nigeria’s economic growth above that of Brazil and Russia, and slightly behind the economies of China and India.
5. Strategic Location: Nigeria is located at the trigger of Africa which is an area that looks like a trigger if Africa is turned 90 degrees anti-clockwise to look like a gun. It connects with the rest of West Africa through Benin Republic, North Africa through the semi-arid countries of Niger and Chad, the east by Cameroun and the south by the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. This makes it the hub for economic activity.
Lagos, the commercial capital is only 0.4% in land mass but is one of the most populous with the ports, the state capital – Ikeja and the business capital – Lagos Island, the major contributors to its economic importance to Nigeria. If Lagos were an African country, it would be the seventh largest economy in Africa, larger than over 46 other countries on the continent economically.
6. Policies supportive of private entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships: Nigeria currently operates a free market economy. This makes the country highly profitable for investors. The Nigerian government has also created a favorable climate for business and industrial ventures through policies that favor private sector participation. The government even went as far as privatizing the only government-owned petrochemical company and sold its interest in eight oil service companies.
Nigeria is named one of the MINT countries (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) that are set to become world powers by 2050. This drive will be fuelled by population growth, a strong economy, and a large working population, among other factors.
Considering the expectations for the giant of Africa, it is good strategic thinking to get in now and have a foothold before the growth explosion kicks into full gear.
7. Very strong financial system: With 7 of the top 25 banks in Africa located in Nigeria and backed by the second largest stock exchange in Africa, the country has built a network of strong financial institutions with a functioning apex bank – the central bank of Nigeria – keeping financial matters running efficiently.
It is, therefore, a huge possibility to have your ventures funded by the financial system if you have winning products and/or services.
In closing, entrepreneurs can begin to tap into the huge value-chain that is Nigeria and also see how they can invest or be a part of the impending growth.