Welcome from Lesley Batchelor OBE, FIEx (Grad) - Director General, Institute of Export & International Trade

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Africa’s largest country by population and a gateway to fifteen smaller West African countries, Nigeria, is an export market that existing or budding international traders should keep a close eye on. Despite growth being sluggish and oil production contracting in recent years, the outlook for Nigeria is positive. This Doing Business in Nigeria guide will help prepare UK businesses who are looking to trade with this important market.

If you’re considering Nigeria as an export destination there are a few things to be aware of.

Obtaining permits and licences can be a challenge. Also, despite some federal and state government reforms, corruption remains particularly acute in infrastructure development projects. Less obvious challenges include the chaotic traffic in a city like Lagos, which can mean a limit of 4 meetings per day, the security situation, and mobile phone network coverage.

In January 2013, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) introduced an all new process – the conformity assessment programme (SONCAP). This strict set of guidelines for exports to the country is complex, mandatory and can prove challenging, even for the most seasoned exporter.

On the positive side, British businesses will find that owing to historical ties, there are similar business and legal practices and English is the language of business. There is a growing middle class which means that there is a large consumer base. The fastest growing sectors in Nigeria are, infrastructure, power, agriculture and education & training.

Nigerians are famously friendly and hospitable people who take genuine interest in the lives and experiences of foreigners. With over 250 different ethnic groups in the country, business etiquette demands that you remain flexible and willing to improvise. Since it is vital to develop a good working business relationship with your associates, you will need to be prepared to be patient and to wait for trust to develop, before diving into the details of business discussions. Consequently, business meetings in Nigeria can be very social occasions.

Despite its challenges, Nigeria can be an extremely lucrative market for British businesses and the Institute of Export & International Trade can help guide you through the intricacies of doing business in this fascinating country.

Good luck


Lesley Batchelor OBE, FIEx (Grad)
Director General - Institute of Export & International Trade


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