My first ever visit to Nigeria was a whirlwind week of absolute triumph and exuberation. The 2013 trade mission led by the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Chuka Umunna MP and supported by London Chamber of Commerce and UKTI North West, only confirmed what in theory I already knew, and that was to focus my efforts 110% on West Africa, Nigeria in particular.
The culture, the people and the kindness shown by those I met in just a few short days will stay with me for quite sometime, and for that reason this nation has me hooked.
Travelling together as a delegation of strangers, we all had one mission in mind and that was to secure quality business in Nigeria. This visit was exactly what I had been waiting for and more, flying the flag for British businesses overseas and forging those essential business relationships.
From the 3am business meetings to the constant exchanging of business cards and negotiation chatter, this trip was a real insight into how much work global businesses put into their trade, their craft and securing that deal. What I saw can only be described as poetry in motion, art even, I was mesmerised.
People often ask: ‘why do business in Nigeria?’ and I often answer, ‘why not?’. In a country where there is a growing consumer class, a population of 167m people, the GDP has risen by more than 6.8% in the past decade, and by 2020 Nigeria is set to be one of the largest economies in the world, and I for one only see opportunities.
Businesses need not be too concerned with what may or may not be perceived as negative about Nigeria, as the positives far out way any negatives and based on the emergence of this nation thus far, and on an epic scale, the rewards will be great for those that take on the mighty Nigeria.
Nigeria; emerging or emerged? I cannot answer that, but I can fully and whole heartedly say that businesses thinking of global expansion should indeed not wait for others to dip their toe into Africa and tell you about their success – take a leap of faith, a pinch of fact and a slice of common sense and make it happen for you.
“It was great to see new young British businesses like Thirty Eight London going out to look at new markets and opportunities in Nigeria. It is fantastic that this new international trade venture is now being launched earlier than planned because of her success on a recent trade mission supported by UKTI and the London Chamber of Commerce. It shows just what can be done and I wish Nadine and Thirty Eight London every success in the future”. Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Chuka Umunna MP.
This is an exciting time for the business, and now the hard work begins…