Market to Watch: Nigeria

Posted on February 12, 2014



Organizations should look for these project management skills to maneuver project challenges and excel in this growing economy.

 With a large population, substantial natural resources and a strategic location, Nigeria is gaining ground as a project hotspot. The African country is poised for growth this year — its GDP is expected to increase 7.4 percent, more than twice the global projection, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Yet organizations starting initiatives in Nigeria face widespread corruption, poverty and poor infrastructure. Because of these challenges, they must find the right project talent to make the most of three promising sectors:


After passing the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, the government bankrolled US$175 million worth of agriculture programs and projects. With only 40 percent of the country’s arable 84 million hectares (207.6 million acres) cultivated, the abundant land offers opportunity in commodities such as palm oil and cassava, popular ingredients for cleaning and hair-care products.


It’s not the mechanics of cultivating crops that typically snags an agriculture project, says William Grant, global practice lead, agriculture, agribusiness and food security at global development firm DAI, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. It’s failing to build buy-in from local suppliers who have not been paid out when large projects have failed in the past, he says. “[Organizations] have invested large amounts of money in agricultural ventures, but there’s been extensive mismanagement and projects have run into the ground.”

Organizations want project practitioners with superior communications skills to help locals envision the project’s final result and support the project throughout. A thorough and fitting communications plan, for example, would cover how to distribute project information to rural Nigerians through community groups and farmers’ associations.  


The late 2013 privatization of Nigeria’s energy sector brings the prospect of a consistent power supply. To reach that goal, organizations will launch a bounty of power plant construction and energy infrastructure projects, says Emmanuel Udo, PMP, senior cost and planning engineer, Qatar Petroleum, Doha, Qatar.

Organizations in the energy industry will pay top dollar to expatriates who can prove their mettle, says Mr. Udo. They want project practitioners who have subject-matter expertise in knowledge areas such as hydropower, electrical systems and infrastructure.  


Nigeria’s Internet users hit more than 56 million in September 2013, up 113 percent from just a year earlier, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission. It’s a strong sign that the country of 174.5 million people continues to rapidly embrace digital communications and transactions. Increased access to the Internet has opened up a plethora of IT opportunities, including e-commerce, website development and digital distribution network projects, says Ibrahim Adenekan, IT project manager, Q-voda Telecommunications, Victoria Island, Nigeria.

However, the IT sector remains mired in complex regulatory issues. Organizations would do well to look for project practitioners who can manage the risks of wading through bureaucratic bottlenecks and reshuffling of government leaders, says Mr. Adenekan. In this environment, talent must have strong risk management skills — particularly risk analysis — and stakeholder management.     

Organizations looking to invest in and grow along with Nigeria can’t ignore these expanding sectors. And by understanding the opportunities and possible roadblocks ahead, they can stock their talent pool with the right project practitioners to succeed. 


Culled from

Ty Beetseh

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