2014 is set to be the year Nigeria comes into its own: Africa’s most populous country and largest oil producer is on the verge of becoming the continent’s largest economy. But many British businesses have not yet considered the vast potential this market could offer…
Nigeria’s steady economic growth is an undeniable success story – though one that hasn’t quite caught the attention of the world.
That’s likely to change this year. Nigeria, one of Africa’s most stable democracies, has started to play a key role in international politics by driving talks to reform the UN Security Council to secure a permanent seat for Africa. The 2014 World Economic Forum on Africa will take place in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, in May and will bring together regional and global leaders to discuss structural reforms and investments to sustain growth in Africa.
Sustaining growth is especially important to Nigeria, as the country has been identified as one of the world’s top 25 rapid-growth markets. Measures to maintain growth through economic diversification are proving successful: non-oil sectors – services, agriculture and wholesale and retail trade – are now the main drivers of Nigeria’s economy. Nigeria is home to almost 16,000 millionaires, a figure expected to rise to over 26,000 by 2020.
Nigeria, a Commonwealth member with a long history with the UK, is a particularly attractive destination for British businesses. Bilateral ventures include an agreement between the British and Nigerian governments to implement the 2050 Pathways Calculator in Nigeria and a modelling tool which will provide insights into how Nigeria can meet its energy needs. UKTI works closely with British and Nigerian businesses to enhance the trading relationship; currently, Nigeria is the UK’s 33rd largest overseas market and second largest African market for goods.
There are many routes for British businesses to trade with Nigeria. Significantly, its retail infrastructure is still emergent: though developers have plans to set up at least 20 shopping malls in Lagos, existing shopping opportunities are highly limited. As a result, the UK has become many Nigerians’ destination of choice for overseas shopping: department store Debenhams on London’s Oxford Street has even introduced signs in Hausa, one of Nigeria’s main languages.
Given the popularity of ‘Brand Britain’ in Nigeria, there has never been a better time for British businesses to explore this market. A vast segment of the population does not want to, or cannot, travel abroad to buy British products, so the opportunities for British companies to market their goods online are immense: Nigeria has one of the highest percentages of internet users and online shoppers in Africa. For businesses looking to take their trade with Nigeria even further, the flight time from London to Lagos is just under 6 hours – less than to New York. And due to the country’s strategic location, Nigeria can also serve as a hub for businesses looking to establish further operations in Africa.
Have a look at our ‘Export to Nigeria‘ page for more facts and information on exporting there.