Nigeria deserves special attention, beyond the negative image that sometimes affects.
This country is in effect:
The giant of Africa:
– Its GDP is 68% of that of the whole West Africa, population 140 million people-65%. He has a claim to a permanent seat on the Security Council.
– 36 billion barrels of proven oil and gas reserves in the first continent reserves;
– Solid mineral resources in abundance;
– An exceptional agricultural potential with 80% of the land into farmland, often very fertile and favorable weather.
– An economic capital Lagos, which aims to become the financial center of the region.
Recognized by a selection of solid French business partner
– Nigeria is the first destination of our direct investment in sub-Saharan Africa. These investments are many in the oil industry, they are not, however, limited to this sector.
– Nigeria is our largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa. French exports are very close to the level reached with South Africa. They are growing fast: + 90% in ten years (2000-2009) compared to 3% to the whole world, and 15% to sub-Saharan Africa.
The sociological, political and administrative environment is, however, complex
– If the structure of Nigerian federalism is directly and strongly influenced American federalism, its founding principles are, however, far beyond the requirement in respect of “federal character” of the state. Appointments to government posts, as well, for example in respect of geographical origin criteria (often ethnic) before the criteria of competence.
– The weakening of presidential power occurred in recent years has strengthened the power of the 36 governors which sometimes makes it difficult to know the responsibility of decisions, including economic.
– The country has about 200 different ethnic groups. The identification of three main groups – Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba, does not provide sufficient grid reading many not only political but also economic events
– The conduct of human relations in a foreign-invested enterprise requires careful attention to ethnicities. Neglecting these data exposure risk of serious internal disagreements or loss of access management to information and control of possibilities.
– Traditional power structures overlap the Republican civil authorities (Sultan, emirs, district chiefs in the north, the kings of different names, and chiefs in the south). If their actual power is significantly reduced and became largely honorific on a large part of the territory, they still are sometimes, especially at the local level, the forces with which it is imperative to deal with.
– The country has not one but three capitals: The economic capital Lagos, the political capital Abuja, Port-Harcourt oil capital. Travel from one to the other, big time consumers are often required.
The business environment is difficult:
– The safety of individuals is not fully covered by the public system of policing. Private and expensive devices are needed to guard against attacks.
– Corruption is widespread, regulatory output is messy (customs duties and import ban, for example), the propensity to meet commitments is low and the mechanisms for judicial settlement of disputes are not all reliable.
– The competitive relationship or partnership can be of great brutality. The use of physical threat is not an exceptional practice. Or the exploitation of state services for personal purposes.
In this context, and adopting an appropriate approach to these features, the French companies in Nigeria will find an outlet for very large, when the governance of the country has made some progress:
– The country’s infrastructure will rebuild after years of lack of maintenance. The opportunities are many and vast.
– The industry will, which is also to be rebuilt. It has continued, in fact, be reduced in the past year, cement production except: virtual disappearance of textile and automotive sectors cessation of mining, iron and steel activities cap oil and gas extraction.
– Farming experience a strong and rapid development in the case of improved governance. The data, land surface, fertility, climate suggest major potential, now seriously underused.
– The banks are going through a second phase of reforms and restructuring, as part of a determined growth of banking in the economy policy. Some of them should thus be almost as attractive partners for our financial institutions.