Nigeria: A fashionable high growth country

Nigeria is fashionable. It’s the “N” in the MINT countries – the next high-growth markets. As you may remember, earlier this year Nigeria was declared the largest African economy. It surpassed South Africa for the first time.

A recent survey by KPMG on High Growth Markets Outlook reveals that Nigeria – along with Kenya – is beginning to appear in the radar screen of companies looking for international growth opportunities. More companies are planning to invest there this year than there were in total last year.

Construction work in Lagos: A sign of economic growth
Construction work in Lagos: A sign of economic growth

According to that KPMG report,key industries in Nigeria include petroleum, food, telecom, retail, clothing, chemical, construction, and shipbuilding. Some of these industries are driven, clearly, by demographic  growth: last year, more children were born in Nigeria than in Europe as a whole (any doubts about where the future lies…?). In particular, the middle class is expanding: it’s estimated to be 52M (about 30% of the total population), and they live on $6-10/day.

A considerable barrier for companies wishing to tap this growth is competition for talent. In my visits to Nigerian companies, one of the things that caught my attention was their investment in developing talent, which at times they lose to competitors.

In addition, Nigeria is still perceived as a challenging country to enter in comparison to other high-growth markets. I’ll talk about some of these challenges in future posts.

On a different note: last week, I wrote about Ebola and malaria. At the moment I’m attending the annual meeting of the Strategic Management Society (SMS), which is taking place in Madrid. Some American colleagues have told me that they won’t visit Africa until the Ebola scare has gone away. Even if I tell them that there’s no risk in going to East Africa and other countries, they remain unconvinced. To me, this is one more sign that we still think of Africa as “one,” and that we do not have a good sense of its vast size!

2 thoughts on “Nigeria: A fashionable high growth country

  1. It is true what you say. Africa is not equal everywhere. There are great differences between countries. By the way, ignorance and uncertainty makes difficult for westerners believe that there are not risks going to Africa. But Ebola case still is so unknown!!!!!

    1. Very true, it’s just natural that we’re scared about Ebola but at the same time ignorance about distances and so on makes us over-preventional.
      Interestingly, I heard that many people are currently dying in Ghana out of colera: a well known disease with known remedies and prevention mechanisms, but noone is talking about that either…

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