Sunday, 31 May 2015

Top 21 Lucrative Business, Investment Opportunities in Nigeria (Part 1)

In a prelude to this essay, I enumerated 12 challenges of doing business in Nigeria. Conversely, an astute entrepreneur/investor will detect that some of the aforesaid infrastructural challenges of doing business in Nigeria are profitable business opportunities in disguise. In this essay, I will highlight about top 21 profitable business or investment opportunities worth exploring in Nigeria.

Nigeria is reputed to be the biggest economy in Africa, the 6th biggest producer/exporter of (sweet) crude oil in the world and the most populous black nation on earth hence it is a misnomer to liken Nigeria to a poor country. A country that spent about N2.14 trillion ($13.7b) on phone calls and SMS between January 2011 and December 2012, spends N41 billion on champagne annually, ranks high in Private jet ownerships in the world,  boasts of the richest pastors in the world; a country whose Senators earnings treble President Obama’s while it’s President relishes a fleet of a dozen ‘Presidential jets’ whereas the British Prime Minister has none, cannot be said to be poor by any standard.

Nigeria is potentially a global power if its surplus resources are well-harnessed, gets its priorities right and if foresighted, imaginative, less avaricious, incorruptible, fair-minded, and genuinely patriotic Nigerians are elected or appointed into leadership positions. Nigeria (a country of plausibly 170 million people (large market, cheap labour force, abundant raw materials) is pretty much akin to a virgin land hence rewarding investment/business opportunities abound for savvy entrepreneurs and investors. Contrasted with Nigeria, exclusive of the service-oriented businesses but in terms of business opportunities derived from sales of goods and provision of public infrastructural or developmental facilities, a good number of Western economies are either saturated or nearing saturation point. Ask the very resourceful South Africans, Lebanese, Chinese, Indians, Westerners and shrewd indigenous business owners who have paid their dues and mastered the art, intricacies of doing business in Nigeria and they will tell you Nigeria is the in-thing.

Before I unveil the profitable business, investment opportunities in Nigeria, a caveat suffices: The business or investment opportunities proffered herein is not from the forte of a ‘certified investment expert’ per se nor are they guaranteed to succeed. Rather they are hard observations gleaned from the streets of Nigeria through analysis of events, trends and everyday challenges Nigerians are encumbered with. If you are an entrepreneur, a business-minded person, you will appreciate the fact that business is not magic. It’s not every start-up that starts churning out profits right away, you are lucky you break-even the first couple of months or years. Again, bear in mind that there are folks, companies already in the line of business you are about to embark upon and some of them have failed. Your ability to succeed or excel may be a function of how creative, innovative, passionate, resilient, linked or lucky you are. Don’t throw sound reason or caution to the wind: research what you are getting involved in, carry out a due diligence investigation, or better still, have reliable people on ground do the legwork for you so as not to fall prey to some mouth-watering Ponzi schemes masquerading as investment opportunities here or elsewhere. As they say, if it looks too good to be true, it is. 

If you are thinking of doing business in Nigeria, it is worthwhile exploring investment or business opportunities in the following orbits, in no particular order:

1.    Private Education (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions) – Nigerians yearn for quality education and can make any sacrifice to avail themselves cutting-edge education. The wanton decay and lack of confidence in public schools has seen a boom in private educational establishments. Though a long-term investment and capital intensive but investment in this sector promises very good return on investment over the long run. A study posits that Nigerians spend as much as N1.5 trillion annually on students studying abroad. Ghana is a beneficiary of this largesse as Nigerians are said to have spent N160 billion there in 2012 alone. Just recently, the United States embassy in Nigeria says 7,000 Nigerians are enrolled in Higher Institutions in the United States and over 9,000 are studying in Canadian universities.

2.    Health Sector (Provision of world-class medical facilities) - Nigerians are said to spend a staggering N80 billion annually on medical tourism abroad. From minor ailments to life-threatening ones, privileged Nigerians seem to lack confidence on Nigeria’s medical system. Common sense suffices that replicating such state-of-the-art medical facilities prevalent in Western countries in Nigeria will yield high return on investment.

3.    Uninterrupted Power Supply- To give you an idea, Nigeria currently generates about 1,400MW of electricity for a country of about 170 million people which is grossly inadequate. So far, the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has not yielded the desired outcome. Business models or technologies entwined around uninterrupted electricity supply in Nigeria are potential money spinners because if Nigerians can pay for electricity they don’t consume how much more when it is available. Cheaper, cleaner alternative energy sources of energy (Wind farms, Nuclear, Solar energy etc.) will definitely give conventional energy providers a run for their money. Imagine the revenue Geometric Power Limited will generate from say, Aba alone if and when it wriggles out of challenges bogging it and give excellent services to Aba and its environs.

4.    Private Security Enterprise - The unprecedented insecurity – Boko Haram terrorism/insurgency, wanton kidnappings, armed robbery etc. bedeviling Nigeria upped the ante for Nigeria’s Private Security Industry – Consultancy services, Close Protection, Sales of security and safety gadgets, Event security and ancillary businesses. More so, Nigeria is profoundly under-policed hence reliance on private security professionals. My article – ‘’The Private Security Industry in Nigeria: Opportunities, Challenges and The Way Forward’’ will offer more insight into this sector.  

5.    Housing (Real estate) Sector – The cost of acquiring or renting houses/apartments in Nigeria is on the high side because of demand-and-supply dynamics: demand is higher than supply. A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) put the value of the real estate sector in Nigeria at $9.16 billion in 2014. It is estimated that further growth will increase the value of the Nigerian real estate industry to about $13.65 billion by 2016. My take is that henceforth, demand for modest houses/apartments will dwarf demand for luxury apartments. The reason is simple: a good number of luxury apartments sold in Nigeria are bought with proceeds of corruption. If Buhari’s no-nonsense and anti-corruption demeanor is anything to go by, gone are the days when corrupt public officials flaunt their ill-gotten wealth with impunity - arbitrarily buying overpriced 5-bedroom house for N250million (cash of course) for themselves, children, their girlfriends and concubines.

6.    Student Hostels – Are money spinning ventures in Nigeria. There is a dearth of student accommodation in and around many tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Erecting decent student accommodation preferably Self-Contained apartments near these Higher Institutions will surely render good return on investment. Due to paucity of funds, a good number of these higher institutions will welcome private developers in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) or Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement. 

7.    Well-situated, Safe and Secure Event Centre’s – Due to insecurity challenges and the high probability of miscreants disrupting events, well-situated, safe and secure event centers will continue to attract high patronage across Nigeria. Event centers are also thriving in Nigeria given that many State governments banned holding parties, events on the streets. Someone told me of a strategically located religious organization that pays N500,000 per annum as rent but rents out same space for N100,000 per event and there’s one form of event (wedding etc.) taking place there every week.

Here's the part 2 (concluding part) of the essay:

Written By:

©Don Okereke 
(Entrepreneur, Security Analyst/Consultant, Writer/Blogger, Ex-Serviceman) 
Contact me on: donnuait (a)
Follow me on Twitter: @DonOkereke for updates

May, 2015

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