Last week Stanley Ijeoma shared many insights about Nigeria and its business culture. This week, Stanley continues his excellent discussion about not only what Nigeria is today, but where it may be going in terms of financial opportunities for entrepreneurs.

What do you wish people knew about doing business in Nigeria before they arrive in country?

Before arriving Nigeria on a business trip: I wish they knew Nigeria has the best of fertile land for agriculture on the surface of the earth. Nigerians are creative, energetic, honest and enterprising people. There quantum of opportunities waiting to be explored. Nigeria provides the patient but committed investor the highest return on investments. Nigerians need more than 90,000 MW of electricity to power their every activities. Nigerians have about 25 million housing deficits -to be built by the private sector. A Feed-In-Tariff [FIT] regime would soon be unleashed to drive the renewable energy investments. Nigerians crave investments that shorten the gulf between the haves and haves-not. There are more than 167 million people here who are ready to spend money for innovative products and services. Cheap land and labour-two key factors of production, are here -the minimum take home pay here is 18,000 Nigerian Naira which is about 110 USD per month.  Growing population size and household incomes are already driving the retail sector with high demand for appliances and consumables.

Finally, I wish they knew the story of a certain Alan Knott-Craig; the now retired CEO of Vodacom South Africa who is somewhere in retirement with one big regret -exiting the Nigerian telecommunication market out of impatience!  Alan continues to regret his company’s hasty withdrawal from a deal that would have given them a huge chunk of the 150 million potential subscriber base that is the Nigerian telecommunications market –one that grew from about 400,000 active mobile telephone lines in the year 2000 to about 100,000,000 active mobile telephone lines by end of 2011. Alan, realizing his indiscretion, later made concerted efforts to come back to the Nigerian telecom market, but such efforts were over-taken by new developments in the highly fluid and ever dynamic Nigerian economy.  Poor Alan!

From your perspective, what’s the business climate like for entrepreneurs (supportive vs. unsupported, culturally accepted profession vs. not accepted, etc.)?

The business climate here for start-up entrepreneurs is really rough and tough but it is easier for established businesses to branch out here.  Considering our nascent democracy which is gradually being nurtured to maturity -after a long military misadventure in politics; the Nigerian business climate is relatively very welcoming and positive and very many opportunities are already being created and even more and more are being created by the foreign driven initiatives like the United States driven African Growth Opportunity Act [AGOA]. 

Overall, Nigeria’s successive civilian governments in the last thirteen years recognize the country still has a long way to go and has been open to public-private partnerships [PPP], Bilateral and Bi-national trade agreements and economic partnerships and encouraging foreign investment initiatives via FDIs in the areas of agriculture, tourism, solid minerals exploration, retail sector and mass housing. Take for instance the mass housing sector where amazing opportunities exist to be able to meet the over 25 million housing deficit! How about the power sector where there is a deficit of almost 100,000 megawatts of electricity to power the Nigeria economy which currently runs on an abysmal 3,000 megawatts?  This represents amazing opening for renewable energy and other cleantech products manufacturers. The emphasis here is privatization and more private sector participation in critical infrastructure developments, etc.

I’ll like to end by asking potential investors to ask the Mobile Telecommunications Networks [MTN], Julius Berger Constructions, Etisalats of this world how green their bottom lines have been in Nigeria –and please don’t forget to ring up Mr. Knott-Craig for practical lecture sessions on the dos and don’ts of doing business in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general!

About Stanley Ijeoma

Stanley Ijeoma, Environpreneur

Stanley Ijeoma earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Chemistry from University of Calabar as well as Bangor University, United Kingdom where he was awarded Certificate of Achievement for completing an Executive MBA course on “Renewable Energy and Sustainability”. Mr. Ijeom is one of only two Africans on the Board of World Council for Renewable Energy [WCRE].  As Africa’s foremost Enviropreneur, Stanley continues to promote products, services, policies, programmes and initiatives that are friendly to the environment while encouraging the transition to the fast emerging global low carbon economy.  In 2008, Stanley helped pioneered the lighting Africa [LA] initiative by participating in the inaugural Development Marketplace (DM) competition for the design and delivery of low cost, high quality, non-fossil fuel-based lighting products targeting 250 million low income Africans by 2030 as part of broader Lighting Africa program. Two years later, he was invited by the Welsh Assembly Government to lead an elite group of 15 budding African Enviropreneurs on a month long field trip to Wales for the UNIDO sponsored “African Environmental Responsibility & Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development Initiative”.

Stanley has been involved in many non-profit activities internationally and locally where he has been spear heading advocacy efforts including the World Council for Renewable Energy and Green Energy Society of Nigeria [GESON] and has featured severally as Guest Analyst of choice on THE MONEY SHOW on the African Independent Television [AIT] programme on “Green Economy”.   In the course of his research that looked into the Nigerian electricity crisis and the dependence on fossil fuel electricity generators by businesses, homes/offices; he identified the “Initial Cost versus Integral cost” factor influencing the choice of fossil fuel energy options ahead of renewable energy alternatives.    As a freelance Green Columnist; his articles: “Climate Change & Survival Instinct”, “We Need Low Carbon Energy Infrastructures (I&II)”, “Ecopitalism: The New Economic Model of The Global Green Economy” ,  “Green Tales from Wales”, “An Enviropreneur’s Encounter With President Barack Obama on The Future We Want –A Renewable Dream!”, “Energy Efficiency & Nigeria’s Power Puzzle” ; have been used and consulted globally on several websites and by diverse organizations where they have continued to influence public opinion and policy in favour of strategically positioning African economies and businesses to be able to absorb climate change induced economic shocks and social disruptions.  

Having previously worked in the business development units of private sector organizations means Stanley has a deep knowledge of the Nigerian market as well as the culture that drives the dynamics of the world’s 7th biggest market via established bridges and contacts in the government, public as well as private sectors and hopes to bring these goodwill to bear in his vision to assist foreign investors make sustainable investment decisions in Nigeria.  Stanley is a member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals [ISSP] and is currently CEO, Schrodinger Limited; a global business development and climate change economic impact consultancy firm based in Abuja, Africa’s fastest growing capital city. 

To contact Stanley:

Email: [email protected]
Skype: schrodingerr
Twitter: @schrodingerr