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Doing Business in Nigeria: A List of Things to Consider 



Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa, is home to hundreds of different ethnic backgrounds, rich heritage, and vivid cultures. The multi-cultured country enjoys stunning landscapes, picturesque waterfalls, and bustling cities steeped with the best music, art, and films.

It comes as no surprise that Nollywood, the world’s second-largest film industry globally, is based in Nigeria. This achievement is a result of talented youth, creative minds, and extraordinary technological progressions. Therefore, many foreigners are contemplating bringing their investments to Nigeria.

Unfortunately, the major hurdle that can keep you from doing business in Nigeria is the language barrier. Even though English is deemed the national language, Hausa is the country’s most widely spoken language. Plus, there are over 500 languages spoken in the country, making it the third most linguistically diverse in the world.

Without the help of professional Nigerian translation services, your business may find it difficult to penetrate the cultural hub of Africa.

There are many other essential things to consider before you begin your entrepreneurial journey in Nigeria. Let’s sync you up with them after a brief overview of international businesses in the country.

Growth of International Business in Nigeria

According to the World Bank’s report for Doing Business, Nigeria managed to jump from 146th rank in 2019 to 131st globally in 2020. This leap proves that the government is on the right track and eager to welcome foreign investments through economic liberalization and strategic relationships with international companies.

Furthermore, the Nigerian government offers public-private partnerships to safeguard new investments. Unfortunately, the country suffered a significant setback after the 2016 recession magnified by the Covid outbreak in 2019. As a result, the economic growth sharply fell to 2.2 % in 2019, in contrast to 6.3 % in 2016.

Nevertheless, housing a large domestic population and being the highest contributor to Africa’s GDP, Nigeria is in the spotlight for all the right reasons. Moreover, the country has tremendous potential due to massive hydrocarbon and other natural resources and expandable agricultural capacity.

Five Things to Know Before Doing Business in Nigeria

Companies doing well in Nigeria might not tell you one little secret- Do your homework that will help you stay afloat in the endless chaotic energy! Here is a little cheat sheet that will simplify your research.

Nigerian Translation Services

The number of languages currently spoken in Nigeria is close to five hundred. Yes, you heard me right! Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulfulde, Kanuri, and Ibibio are the most common and widely spoken languages.

Therefore, finding an agency that can translate Nigerian languages quickly and accurately should top your list of priorities.

Working with a Nigerian translation service will help you fill up startup forms, coordinate with corporate solicitors and connect with your audience. They will also help you with your brand voice to align with the cultural norms and not offend the natives accidentally.

Similarly, when it’s time to recruit staff, a Nigerian translator will prove to be indispensable.

All communities respond better when you communicate through their mother tongue. Therefore, no matter how strong your product or service is, you will be at a loss unless you approach the locals in their language.

Have Good Local Staff

Think global but do local is the most effective approach when dealing with any new community. All successful international businesses in Nigeria have a good chunk of local staff, which is not by accident.

Spend time on building healthy relationships with your employees because Nigerians love to connect with foreign nationals. Other than having a good time yourself, you will see a boost in productivity and motivation levels.

Also, remember, Nigerians belong to many different ethnicities and have different ways of living. Therefore, learning a bit about their diverse background will procure a better long-term relationship and help you steer clear of unwanted nuances.


Nigeria is no war zone- as perceived by half of the world. However, many international businesses find it shocking that bribery and corruption are norms in this part of the world.

The better you prepare yourself for this reality, the better equipped you shall be.

You can’t change the system overnight, but accepting and maneuvering your business around the unfortunate realities will bring you closer to success.

It is speculated that many large international firms in Nigeria have massive amounts set aside for ‘token money.’ It may be unethical and against your belief, but a harsh reality that you must accept.

Be Spontaneous

The cutthroat competition will leave you hanging mid-air unless you keep a flexible approach and are quick in decision making. Strategic long-term planning should always feature a window for adaptation.

The Nigerian market is fascinating and fast-moving, with hundreds of people trying to leave their mark. Business owners need to have a direct and adaptable game plan to survive in the business.

Therefore, you need to be very active, spontaneous, and innovative to stay afloat. With a high confidence level, customary networking, reputable resources, you can stay ahead of the unpredictable work environment.

Gender Inequality

Nigeria has a long way to go before it can provide complete equality for both genders. As a result, you won’t find many women in top positions at firms, and those who make it to the top will suffer from pay inequality.

Unfortunately, this deep-rooted patriarchy is still prevalent and hope that this changes sooner rather than later.

Nigeria is a country associated with high risk and clouded with poverty in many areas. However, this uncertainty is what marks its potential to be a high reward setting too. Agriculture, real estate, poultry farming are lucrative options to dive into at this point.

Since this economic hub has a diverse population portfolio, learning about their culture, language and interest can help you achieve stability and success. Make sure that you hire Nigerian translation services to help with a smooth transition.

To sum up, Nigerians will welcome you with open arms, but you must also make them feel safe and accept their diverse cultures.


I'm Nikos Alepidis, blogger at motivirus. I'm passioned for all things related to motivation & personal development. My goal is to help and inspire people to become better.

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