Want to explore the business opportunities in Nigeria and other select West African countries. With consulting experience across multiple industries, the objective of this article is to provide you significant all-round support for any project or new business venture.

IN recent times Africa has been rising as a continent of new opportunities. Driven by technology, and a growing young population, a new wave of entrepreneurs is on the rise, opening multiple prospects for foreign investors and entrepreneurs alike. In fact, Africa largely escaped the global decline in foreign direct investment with an 11% increase in 2018. That's wonderful isnt it.

Lets see what Paul Okaru, a Dubai-based Management Consultant, has to say to companies planning to enter Nigeria and other select West African countries for setting up business.

Identify trustworthy partners

Why Paul ? With a wide network of contacts on the ground in West Africa, and particularly Nigeria, Paul is strategically positioned to assist clients across the globe, whether they be foreign investors, multinationals, high net worth individuals, or SMEs.

The most important thing, he says, for entrepreneurs looking to invest in Africa is to engage an individual or firm with a reputation of exposure to market and business information for the West African country in question.
“West Africa is a huge territory. As a potential investor, you should conduct detailed market research and undertake strict due diligence on your potential partner. It is a good idea to know what you are getting into, and there are no surprises, even if it would involve incurring some expenses” he says.

To get a better understanding of the region and its business opportunities, Paul also suggests attending industry-related conferences and exhibitions held out of West Africa. This helps potential investors not only network with prospective partners but also carry out on-ground research.

“It is a good idea to visit the country and the people you are considering doing business with. It is the only way to build long-term, trustworthy relationships,” he suggests.

Business opportunities in a geographical context

“Even within close geographical proximity in West Africa, there are territories with markedly different business environments and ecosystems,” says Paul. “On the one hand, you have English-speaking West Africa, which includes Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, and other promising countries, such as Ghana. The legal system in Nigeria and Ghana is based on English common law. Similarly, in French-speaking West Africa, you have promising countries, such as Ivory Coast and Senegal, who have a legal system more influenced by French civil law,” he explains.

He recommends that investors look at Africa as a large opportunity made of smaller opportunities based on geography. Each area has their uniqueness and strengths. He does, however, stress the usefulness of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as a powerful trading body that can offer investors many beneficial opportunities and support. Having a good business consultant on your side is one of the important decisions to take before you jump into a new market.

Potential for investment

“Many people have preconceived ideas about Africa, but the continent comprises many different demographics, populations, educational levels, and skillsets. The reality is that there are different investment potentials in different countries,” says Paul.

Nigeria, for example, has a population of over 200 million with many capabilities. “Most people in Nigeria are young, English-educated, and need jobs. These people are intelligent and very trainable. If you teach them, they will perform. Investing in people in these areas has prospects for exponential growth for investors taking a long-term view,” he adds.

Industries like fintech, information technology, healthcare, education, renewable energy, manufacturing, logistics, and agriculture are in the early stages of incubation and growth. This provides low barriers to entry for any business who is looking to invest in West Africa. This alongwith good market research data analysis will be ideal to setup a successful venture in a new market like west africa.

“Whilst West Africa does not have highly developed sectors and mature markets, the region has an emerging consumer class that is increasingly able to afford things and demand more than what is being offered,” he adds. “Value chains, therefore, within these aforementioned industries can offer huge areas for investors to participate.”

With consulting experience across multiple industries, Paul can provide significant support for any new business venture.

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Author's Bio: 

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