A Quick Look at Nigeria
Following the Trump administration’s release of its African strategy the inauguration of which the Nigerian president attended in Washington D.C., Nigeria continues to be a focus point for the US to compete with Chinese investments in Africa as well as Russia’s growing influence there. Despite Nigeria possessing over 34 occurrences of mineral and natural resources, less than 1 percent of GDP is collected in taxes by the Nigerian government.
Ranging from industrial materials, iron ore, tin-ore, limestone, coal, lead, zinc, columbite, marbles, bitumen and tar sand, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of columbite, 6th largest producer of Tin, 8th largest producer of crude oil and gas. The total arable land area in the country is about 31.3 percent of the total land. With a significant presence of nanotechnology, Nigeria is also attractive for tech and manufacturing. These are the attributes welcoming US companies in the emerging markets of Nigeria and surrounding countries on the African continent.
Oil boomed in Nigeria in the 1960s and 1970s and now constitutes about 21.9 percent of GDP. This industry remains the vital to the Nigerian economy which has stagnated in recent years with rising poverty levels due in part to internal corruption over successive governments which have also fallen under the influence of violent extremists like Boko Haram that find a rich recruiting ground among its Sunni majority Muslim population. Over the last 10 years, US AFRICOM has expanded defense operations in the region constituting currently a significant portion of the overall defense budget though these engagements have not received the necessary media coverage to inform the private sector of events that are now important to consider for business engagements throughout Africa.
As the threats become managed, Nigeria welcomes infrastructure and resource development. Despite its low level of human capital, the available workforce is thriving with technology in the so-called gig economy. However human health and medicine continue to limit productivity among the population. The recent introduction of malaria testing and treatment increased workers’ income by 10 percent.
The US company, Andela, employs about 20,000 software programmers across Africa with a goal of training and employing a quota of 100,000 programmers using free online training tools. With informality persisting in emerging markets and fusing with advanced industries, Nigeria offers a balance of opportunities that can be optimized here to benefit from both the fluidity that comes from informality that exist in the tech and retail world and structure that is required with regulatory practices such as within heavy construction and some banking and credit.