Investors surge towards Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, is rapidly increasing thanks to the country’s budding economy, its openness to doing business and robust entrepreneurial spirit.
A testament to that fact is the disclosure by South Africa’s Moore Stephens, one of the world’s leading accounting and consulting networks, of its plans to expand significantly in the country.
“We see huge potential in Nigeria, with its 169 million consumers, a growth rate of about 7 percent annually and infrastructural requirements which will drive business opportunities for support services,” said Charles Reid, Chairman of Moore Stephens South Africa.
The firm further revealed that its Strategy advisor for Africa, Reid and Jeff Blackbeard, are visiting Nigeria to meet potential investors and Nigeria-based partner firm, RoseWater Partners, who it has been working closely with in its plan to expand in the country.
Moore Stephens plans to enrol four to five new member firms to become a 20-partner, 300-400-staff firm across Nigeria, which will manage audits and compliance as well as advice on starting up businesses in Nigeria, international business structures and tax planning.
“We are starting the process of expanding the Moore Stephens umbrella firm in Nigeria to include all the major centres and increase the size of our client base,” said Blackbeard.
CEO of RoseWater Partners, Kayode Sunmola, whose work with Moore Stephens has increased substantially since 2006, said he was very pleased that investors were turning their sights to Nigeria after years of negative publicity which kept would-be investors at bay.
“The perception of Nigeria became so bad that investors felt safer on the streets of Johannesburg – which I consider very dangerous – than on the streets of Lagos. However, the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, with the assistance of the former Vice-President of the World Bank and our current Finance Minister, Ngozi Okongo-Iweala, have been able to break this jinx and suddenly every investor sees Nigeria as an investment destination of choice,” said Sunmola.
He expected the oil and gas sectors to remain major industries for some time, with plenty of growth in sectors such as Power, Telecoms, Manufacturing and Financial Services. [eap_ad_2] Reid said among other initiatives, he saw great potential for investors from South Africa and other countries in a deep water port and free port zone being developed 65 kilometres east of Lagos, which offered tax-free investment. He said this had great advantages for local manufacture and infrastructure development.
While opportunities outweighed the risks, there are some obstacles to overcome.
Sunmola said the country’s compliance and regulatory agencies needed to step up efficiency, while Reid said moving products remained difficult, due to traffic congestion and poor roads.
From the visit, it was clear that Nigeria, which recently surpassed South Africa as the African country with the highest GDP, was wide open for business.
“Its market size, consumer demand, ‘can-do’ attitude and entrepreneurs who are gaining momentum, are reasons alone, while a culture of compliance with regard to law and taxes is also growing,” said Blackbeard.
He suggested potential investors would be pleasantly surprised by taking the plunge in Nigeria.
“Treat Nigeria with respect and you will learn about your business through the eyes of your biggest market opportunity.”
Moore Stephens, with 307 independent firms and 667 offices in 105 countries, also hopes to expand the network into other African countries, including Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Chad, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Senegal. (Ventures Africa)[eap_ad_3]