Business conditions of Nigeria v UK


Peter Savage continues his series of articles on maximising business opportunities with a sideways look at opportunities in with emerging markets

Due to the efficiency (ahem) of TV Bay’s management and my own scheduling skills, I find myself, the day before going to press, writing an article whilst sitting in a hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. So, for a completely left field approach, here is a quick overview of business conditions in Nigeria compared with the UK.

Having been invited here by a supplier’s representative to discuss financing with the national TV authority, it seemed sensible to arrange meetings with banks and businesses here to see if there were any opportunities for our industry in this infamous market.

Differences and similarities

First things first: my arrival. It is bizarre not only to land in a suit then walk out into 40 degrees of heat while you all sit in snowy, sub-zero England – but also then to be met by a customs system that is worse even than that of the US. It took an hour and a half to enter the country. I then spent the same amount of time stuck in traffic. Why? With 150 million people, Nigeria is the largest populated country in Africa. Five million plus people live in Lagos which is the largest and busiest port in north Africa. With practically no infrastructure, everyone travels by car down the equivalent of one dual carriageway. If you think you have seen congestion when travelling in the UK, think again.

On our first day here we had eight meetings with various businesses and banks. The first major point that came to mind was that this is a country of not inconsiderable wealth. However, as with many emerging market countries or raw material based economies (Russia included), most of that wealth is held by a few and, despite having a vibrant economy, there is a distinct lack of capital available.

As with our own economy, Nigeria went through a banking crisis last year. It resulted in only 14 of about 30 banks maintaining their banking licenses having been forced, by the government, to merge or be absorbed by larger banks. Now where have I seen that before? These banks have restricted capital so they only lend to prime credits. The remaining customers have to pay huge interest charges for any access to capital. Again, there is a distinct similarity to the current UK economy.

Opportunities and potential

Half way through the day I began to understand why the Nigerian economy has been tarred with the sceptical brush. Ignore the scammers and the phishing emails that are an unfortunate bi-product of the Internet; the problem is far more basic. The country seems to lack the planning processes that are required by the UK banking industry when asking or applying for credit. How many times over the last couple of years have I stressed the necessity for, and value of, good business planning? And how often have I advocated spending some money at the start of a project to ensure you have a coherent plan of where and how your business is going to develop – so you then have something to measure, control and forecast against?

And it is here that, with huge untapped wealth in Nigeria, there is also huge untapped opportunity for UK businesses – if we do a bit of business planning. For instance, the license for the start of a new second national broadcaster has just been issued; mobile phones are still relatively in their infancy; the Internet is slow and unreliable; the phone systems are poor. But, hey, what potential! How many entrepreneurs would like to take their knowledge of the market and go back 20 years to the start of a new trend – using today’s technology?

Work with, not against, this emerging market

Here in Nigeria it seems to be par for the course to be able rock up to a funding meeting and say you are looking to raise $40 million dollars – without having a cohesive business plan on how why and what it is needed for.

If UK businesses were prepared to work with these guys, putting together a defined corporate structure on European lines, it would give foreign investors the confidence to invest sensibly into the Nigerian economy without assuming that they are being scammed or that there is no control of the economy.

Nigeria certainly has all the raw materials: there is a queue of ships waiting for two weeks to unload imports paid for out of excess oil, gas, cocoa and other local revenue-spinners. And the business class has the other key to success: the contacts to unlock the bureaucracy (even a £30 million upgrade of a television facility has had to be sanctioned by Nigeria’s parliament). This type of bureaucracy would stifle the normal speed of entrepreneurialism in Europe but, here, they just simply say it’s all being done in Nigerian time. And, trust me, that is a long time. But you do get there in the end.

Left attack

Apologies, again, that this is a bit left field but I hope this insight into Nigeria, written live in Nigeria, might be of interest. And, yes, if you would like advice on exporting to emerging markets – Nigeria or elsewhere – we have a division within Azule Consultancy that helps businesses exploit these opportunities, whether they want us to do the work or to learn how to do it themselves.

Next month … back to the good old English economy and hopefully the green shoots of recovery will be sprouting.

If you would like to discuss, in confidence, export opportunities for your business, contact peter.savage@azule.co.uk. If you missed previous articles in this series, or would like to comment via our blog, look at www.azule.co.uk.


Tags: iss037 | azule | finance | business | nigeria | banking crisis | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Azule Finance at BVE 2016

    Azule Finance at BVE 2016

  • Azule Finance at BVE 2013

    Azule Finance at BVE 2013

  • Five Arrows Media Finance at IBC 2015

    Five Arrows Media Finance at IBC 2015

  • Kit Financing with Medialease at NAB 2017

    Kit Financing with Medialease at NAB 2017

  • Pilat Media on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Pilat Media on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013


Related Shows
  • Paragon Bank Technology Finance at BVE 2016

    Paragon Bank Technology Finance at BVE 2016


Articles
The Evolution of Audio Monitoring
Stephen Brownsill Every user, production, environment, operation and application is different, meaning that universal tools simply cannot provide the versatility required by today’s customers. Audio monitoring continues to evolve as productions advance, with the need for multi-channel monitoring, configurable metering as well as the ability to adhere to the latest loudness guidelines remaining at the top of the must-have list.
Tags: iss138 | tsl products | st-2110 | lip synce | ip | ptp stauts | amwa | nmos | Stephen Brownsill
Contributing Author Stephen Brownsill Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation: Wings, Fine Coffee and Fake Nudes
Dick Hobbs - new One of the many attractions of this time of year is that I get to meet with my fellow judges for the IBC Innovation Awards, and see what the industry sees as the most important, most forward-looking projects of the day. For me, this says what the key talking points are going to be in September, far more eloquently than the endless press releases from vendors which are already tumbling into my inbox.
Tags: iss138 | ibc | smpte 2110 | deepnude | cisco | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Centre Stage for Cameras with All About Eve
Anthony Newton Taking its inspiration from the classic 1950 film, Ivo van Hove’s stage production of All About Eve, starring Gillian Anderson as theatre darling, Margo Channing, and Lily James as the eponymous Eve, retains the themes of ageing, celebrity and obsession. The piece, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Stage Productions garnered stellar reviews during its recent run at London’s Noel Coward Theatre.
Tags: iss138 | blackmagic design | micro studio camera | ronin | smartscope duo | Anthony Newton
Contributing Author Anthony Newton Click to read or download PDF
How Providers Can Win Man of the Match With Live Sports OTT
Chris Wood Times are tough for traditional broadcasters and live TV; the rise of on-demand TV and paid subscription services isn’t a secret and a large amount of the population are turning to these alternatives rather than their established counterparts.
Tags: iss138 | spicymango | ott | live sports | cdn | Chris Wood
Contributing Author Chris Wood Click to read or download PDF
Make Time for Remapping
Alex Macleod For my 4th Kitplus article I thought I’d highlight an effect in Premiere Pro that frankly I would be lost without. Namely - time remapping.
Tags: iss138 | premiere pro | post production | editing | speed remapping | remapping | mediacity training | Alex Macleod
Contributing Author Alex Macleod Click to read or download PDF