Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Park Inn Hotel To Open in Abeokuta, Nigeria

Stay @ the Park Inn Hotel while on visit to the Olumo Rock and other attractions in Ogun State.

The Rezidor Hotel Group announces two new Park Inn hotels: The Park Inn Luxembourg City featuring 99 rooms is scheduled to open in Q4 2010, and the Park Inn Abeokuta in Nigeria with 173 rooms will welcome the first guests in Q4 2010.

"These signings further underline and strengthen the ambitious growth of our dynamic mid market brand Park Inn", comments Kurt Ritter, President & CEO of Rezidor. "Launched in early 2003, Park Inn today comprises more than 130 hotels with more than 24,500 rooms in operation and under development across Europe, Middle East and Africa".

The Park Inn Abeokuta follows recent signings Rezidor has made in the emerging market of Nigeria - the group already develops hotels in the capital city Abuja and in Lagos. Abeokuta (meaning "under the rocks") is a major commercial centre in Ogun State 75 kilometres north of Lagos. The city's existing "Gateway Hotel" will be completely renovated into a modern Park Inn property with 173 guest rooms, a signature RBG Bar & Grill, meeting space including a ballroom and auditorium, a swimming pool, a gym and retail shops.

In terms of population, Nigeria is the largest country in Africa. Thanks to its massive oil reserves, it is also among the wealthiest and most economically important countries on the continent.

With an ambitious reform agenda and strong macroeconomic policies, the oil wealth is being better utilised to promote the growth of the country and diversify the economy. This continued development has resulted in a surge in demand from international business travellers and Nigeria's emerging middle class.


Source: Hotel Development News and Trends (www.hotelchange.com)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kentucky Fried Chicken Comes To Town!


Wondering why this should make a headline in Nigeria?


Well, it has not been easy trying to convince Franchisers, especially US Franchisers, of the business opportunities in Nigeria. They would rather go elsewhere!

Are they capitulating as a result of the economic meltdown in those 'preferred climes' or have suddenly realised the fast foods market potential in Nigeria? The future belongs here. Only time will tell.

Lagos Insider announces the coming of the Colonel to town. It reads...

When we go abroad, one thing we secretly look forward to is all that deliciously delicious, totally bad for you, junk food. And, on your behalf, we've been tracking reports that a global chain is opening in Lagos - and now it's official!

Kentucky Fried Chicken, inventors of the original, dipped in batter, southern deep fried chicken are now here. While their City Mall location may be less than ideal (you wouldn't know it from their brisk - start up - business) it's relatively central and they've done an excellent job creating an outlet that would fit in anywhere.

Which brings us to their food. As the franchise operator is from India, its not exactly what you'd get in US or UK, and while the crunchy, slightly spicy batter isn't the "original - 11 secret herbs and spices - recipe" it's not that bad...

Friday, December 11, 2009

SAFE CITY SOLUTIONS CONFERENCE: A DIFFERENT KIND OF MISSION TO ISRAEL.

Every year, Nigerians of the Christian faith go on pilgrimage to Israel. This year, about twenty thousand Nigerians are expected to make the trip

This was not the case with the trio of Ndudi Osakwe, Patrick Keku and Unuigbe Irheren. They traveled to Israel on a different mission. The reason for their visit was to attend a conference on Safe City Solutions held in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 30 to December 1, 2009.

Safe City has been defined to be a city that implements the simplest norms necessary for a quiet, safe life, free of concern about personal security.

The vision of a safe city is that of a city free of street urchins, violence, sale of alcoholic products in motor parks, hawking of pornographic materials on highways and street corners.

It is a city whose residents cooperate and respond to every violation of the norm as established by the government, a city that responds quickly to robberies, youth at risk, dysfunctional families. A safe city contributes to effective education of the preschoolers for the first five years or more in order to prevent the formation of social vices. This is a tall order in Nigeria.

Most Nigerian cities are homes to frustrated youths, poor families and those whose high expectations of the city environment have failed. Several affected persons have ended up as school drop-outs, street urchins, prostitutes, armed robbers, internet fraudsters, hard drug users and drunkards etc. These issues demand immediate remedy from the government

While doing that, a discerning government notes that increasingly, cities and urban regions compete with other places for attention, investment, visitors, shoppers, talent, events, and the like. With globalisation, competition is no longer limited to the capital and big cities as it now directly affects all cities and concentrations of urban settlements, near and far, within and outside of the country.

Given the above context, safe city has become one of the critical indices in the choice of where to live, invest or do business. Infact, safe city provides the prerequisite for city growth and success, increasing business opportunities and a basis for a high standard of living for residents and visitors.


Lagos Adopts Safe City Norms

Imagine a city in which state-of-the-art sensors detect thieves trying to break into a home, cameras record the license plate number of a car trying to rob a bank, and experienced switchboard operators handle every resident request online. This is not a city in another planet but a safe city whose policies is now implemented in many cities around the world.

The conference was declared open by Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister with the Nigerian Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Olisa Dada in attendance.It kicked off with a well attended gala dinner and display of Israeli folklores and songs. However, the highpoint of the conference was on the second day when the best minds in Homeland Security matters from around the world delivered several papers on ensuring a safe city.

Technology solutions that enable emergency response units, law enforcement agencies and private security companies to reduce urban violence, fight crime and prevent threats were on display.

It was indeed the journey of ‘three wise men’ on a mission to the Holy land.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Invitation to African Logistics Companies and Freight Forwarders.

A Good Movie Starts With A Good Plot.

Though the US National Intelligence Agency predicted that the world economy would shift to the Far East especially India and China by the year 2025, it is happening very quickly. According to the Economist, China would become the world's second largest economy in 2010, with a sustained GDP growth of 8.6%.

Would not you rather do business in such an economy?

Slowly but surely, China meandered its way from being a cheap source of clothing and consumer items to becoming a major player in the key sectors of the economy including oil and gas, transportation, telecommunications, construction and energy etc.

Now, you have the opportunity to be visible in 2010.

Infoplus/IBG Nigeria has secured the mandate of JC Trans to locate, screen and qualify discerning African Freight Forwarders and Logistics companies looking to make a difference in 2010.

JCtrans.net is a leading logistics website set up to provide global networking services for freight forwarders and other logistical service providers; with the goal of strengthening the business cooperation between Chinese and Overseas freight forwarders and to provide an online platform for global freight forwarders.

According to Alexa, a reputable website ranking institution, JCtrans has been ranked the No.1 logistics website in China for the last five years in succession.

Contact us on ibgnigeria@gmail.com or nosakwe@ibgnigeria.com for membership details.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A shot at 2010 (Case study, Nigeria)

'Of one thing we are certain: if there is any one part of the world that possesses the potential for exponential growth in the coming few decades, it is the African Continent' (The Economist).

...and we add 'with Nigeria as one of its emerging economies'. A slow but steady growth of up to six percent should be expected in 2010.

Watch out for our analysis on Nigeria in 2010 as this year comes to an end.

For inquiries and help on Doing Business in Nigeria, email ibgnigeria@gmail.com or nosakwe@ibgnigeria.com

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Indonesian Companies Arrive Lagos.


Having heard of the acceptance of Indonesian products in Nigeria, based on the successful market entry of Indomie instant noodles and Nutri-C flavored drinks, (both market leaders in their sub-sectors), Indonesian companies are coming in droves.

Sixteen Indonesian companies have arrived in Lagos to participate in the Lagos International Trade Fair, 2009 edition. We wish them good luck!

In the picture, Biotama's Anthony talks to Fidelis Olise, Fitzel Consulting

Saturday, November 7, 2009

N-I-G-E-R-I-A (Opportunities Awaiting Discovery)

This land is vast, with wealth far beyond measures,
For who can count the value of the whole?
Our teeming millions surely are our treasure!
Let us with courage plan and set our goal.
This nation's strength grows as we work together.
One people blessed, forever, heart and soul!

(Poem by Nigerwife, Mrs Doris Fafunwa, 82 years old American wife of Professor Babatunde Fafunwa, retired University don and former Nigerian Minister for Education).

Exploit the business opportunities in N-I-G-E-R-I-A

N-Natural Resources (Minerals such as Tantalite, Coal, Kaolin, Bitumen, Tar Sand, etc)
I-Information and Communication Technology (Business Process Outsourcing, WIMAX, Rural Telephony, Internet, e-Government, Distance Learning, Computers, Software etc)
G-Oil and Gas (Gas Masterplan, Marginal Fields, Local Content, Spare Parts etc)
E-Energy (including Environment, Waste to Energy, Solar, Wind, Biogas, IPP etc)
R-Resorts (Hospitality including Hotels, Golf Courses, Theme Parks, Meetings, Conference and Convention Centres, etc)
I-Infrastructure (Transportation, Housing, Health, Ports, Prefabs, Export Processing Zones, Markets, BOOT)
A-Agriculture (Integrated, Food Processing, Post Harvest Technology, Aquaculture)

You may reach us on ibgnigeria@gmail.com, FAX: (USA No.) +1 480 393 4460 or call Ndudi Osakwe on +234 80 2353 0007 for guidance.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

1st Safe City Conference holds in Israel


'The local community probably doesn’t care about global problems or even national problems when they have local crime to contend with. Local surveys and statistics show that theft and burglary, prostitution, violent crime, street gangs...are the real issues communities care about'.

Globus Gate Group & M.K. International Security Consulting in cooperation with "Safe City" Solutions Ltd., are honored to invite you to take part in the:

“Israel Gateway” 2009 – the 7th Israel foreign trade Conference,
Hosting,
The 1st Israel "Safe City Solutions" Conference to be followed by the "Experience Israel" tour

Venue: David Intercontinental Hotel, Tel Aviv, Israel

Date: November 30-December 6, 2009.

Infoplus/IBG Nigeria is an international business facilitation outfit and oversees the business operations of the International Business Group in Nigeria and the sub-region. We have been authorized by the organizers of the Israel Gateway 2009 to lead a delegation of Nigerian Security Professionals and Business People to the high level conference.

Pahek Security is a leading Nigerian private security company and publishers of a security and safety magazine. We have selected to collaborate with them in this endeavor as a result of their exemplary records and performance in business development in the country.

Inquiries should be directed to the names and telephone numbers as below.

Ndudi Osakwe

Infoplus/IBG Nigeria
ibgnigeria@gmail.com
+234 80 2353 0007, +234 1 400 3293

OR

Chief Patrick Keku
Pahek Security Services Limited
paheksec@yahoo.co.uk
+234 1 8726344

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Delta state, Nigeria...unending business opportunities!

Time magazine has selected 'Africa, business destination' as one of the 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now, a collection of ideas in response to the changing global economy.

Would not you rather consider Delta state in Nigeria for Business?

With its highly literate population, a proposed world class Information Technology/business park, a free trade zone, cargo airport and relative peace in the region, Delta state is worth your consideration if you are thinking of doing business in Nigeria.

Yes, Delta means BUSINESS!.



From the left are Senator Patrick Osakwe, Hon. Azuka Osakwe and wife, Pharm. Chinyere Osakwe at a reception in honour of the Honorable Commissioner,Delta State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Hon. Azuka Osakwe.




To reach the 'big heart' as Delta is fondly called, email Ndudi Osakwe on ibgnigeria@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good Thinking! Lagos streets lined with solar lights.


Lighting up the streets of a mega city such as Lagos is a welcome development. The benefits are many:

a. Perceived safety and security of residents and visitors.
b. Reduces crime by improving visibility.
c. Boosts surveillance efforts by the law enforcement agencies.
d. Increases street usage especially by women and the elderly, extend commercial activities into the night and boost travel and tours
e. Strengthens community cohesiveness, especially in residential estates, informal social control and signals community investment by the Government
f. Improves aesthetics and night beautification of streets and in estates
g. Increases outdoor sporting activities such as walk and strolling leading to general improved well-being of the people in the community/location

Adopting solar lighting is good thinking!

The use of solar street lights reduce the burden on grid transmissions. Nigeria, with a population of over 140 million people scattered over a land mass of about one million square kilometers in 36 states or 774 local government areas has a great challenge to promote a diversified electricity supply industry (energy mix) that meets the country’s current and future energy need, no matter the location.

Solar energy is one of the sources that fit properly into the Nigerian environment and would complement other sources effectively as an alternative source of energy in areas with grid electricity and in under-served areas.

It is clean, renewable therefore sustainable. With 3000 average sunshine hours a year, Nigeria has enough solar radiation to support the growth of the energy source to meet the country’s socio-economic needs as emphasized in the UN Millennium Development Goals to reduce poverty and to improve the quality of life of the people...yes! by the year 2015.

Email Ndudi Osakwe on ibgnigeria@gmail.com for further inquiries.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Change of Baton at the Austrian Commercial Office, Lagos, Nigeria


It was five years ago that Dr Albrecht Zimburg arrived Lagos, Nigeria as the Commercial Counsellor of the Austrian Embassy and charged with the Herculean responsibility of overseeing the commercial concerns of Austria in several parts of Africa, with Lagos, Nigeria as the outpost.

If we go by the number of persons that turned up at the send forth party and the reactions received from the invitees, it would be safe to conclude that Dr Zimburg came, saw and conquered.It is incumbent to note that during his tenure in office as the Commercial Counsellor, Austria-Nigeria trade volume rose astronomically.

He would be missed by many Nigerian business people such as Dr Olu Adeleye of Daid Group of Companies, Engineer Olu Okunriboyo and Najim Atallah of Arbitech Nigeria Limited amongst others that saw him as their mouthpiece to reach their prospective business partners in Austria.

The business community present at the reception/send forth party was taken by the enthusiasm of the new Commercial Counsellor, Mr. Sigmund Nemeti. He has come to Nigeria with lots of experience having served in other countries including South Africa. He assured guests present that he would continue from where his predecessor stopped and would take Austria-Nigerian trade relationship to even greater heights.

Austrian companies are expected to play significant roles in the Nigerian economy particularly in the areas of renewable energy, construction of quick fix bridges, airport towers, medical technology and engagement in financial services as foreign direct investors. Further, as the tourism sector develops, stakeholders would benefit immensely from Vienna experience as Austria’s cultural and convention city.

Some of the ways Nigeria-Austria tie can be further strengthened include:

a. Set up of a bilateral chamber of commerce or trade association a. Encouragement of trade visits, fairs and exhibitions

b. Establishment of twin cities to facilitate cultural exchange

c. Further encouragement of the learning of German language in Nigeria

d. Identification of areas of comparative advantage and the support of its development.

e. Encouragement of more Austrians to visit Oshogbo Shrine in Osun State (and other parts of Nigeria) as a means to opening the tourism gateway to Nigeria, which would eventually translate to more business as cultural barriers collapse.

We wish Mr Sigmund Nemeti a happy stay in Nigeria, the land with limitless opportunities!

Ndudi Osakwe
Infoplus/IBG Nigeria
Lagos.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Palms Shopping Mall...Nigeria's business success story.

By the time you finished reading this piece, your attitude to doing business in Nigeria would have changed except if you have the mindset of the Egyptian Pharaoh.

We have culled this interview by Trade Invest with Prakash Pantham, a director in Persianas, owners of the Palms Mall to buttress our point that Nigeria remains an investment destination for investors with 'balls'. Are you? Then look no further!

Read the excerpts below. For the detailed interview, visit http://www.tradeinvestnigeria.com/feature_articles/158330.htm

Why do you think has The Palms shopping mall been so successful?

First of all, the absence of any modern shopping malls in Nigeria has led to a great demand for such a development. Secondly, and most importantly, we have managed to maintain the international standards of operations and maintenance at The Palms consistently through the years, providing the retailers an opportunity to invest and grow their businesses over a longer period of time. We have been very particular about the product/category mix at The Palms, ensuring that all categories are well represented. This was achieved by a smart mix of positioning and tariff for the various segments. For instance, the lease rentals would vary across segments and would also be determined by the profitability of each business. For us at The Palms, our success is determined by the success of our tenants.

Tell us more about Persianas’ planned expansion of The Palms.

Persianas has embarked on the expansion of The Palms largely because of the great demand for retail and office space in Lagos. Land has been acquired adjacent to The Palms and we have put together an international consortium of consultants and engineers to work on this project. The expansion will add approx 40,000 m² to the retail section, and we plan to add two office towers with a total of 30,000 m² and a small hotel with 100 rooms to the project. The necessary parking space will be created by a multi-level car park with space for an additional 2,300 cars. The entire project will be self-reliant in respect of power back-up, water and sewage treatment, security, etc. We expect the construction to start in the 1st quarter of 2010 and to be completed by 2014, though the retail component will be ready by 2012.

What is your message to foreign property developers looking to invest in Nigeria?

With a population of 140 million and growing, Nigeria offers an excellent opportunity for investors to cash in on the growth expected to occur in the next decade or two.
The success of the telecom industry in Nigeria, which today is the largest market in Africa, is testimony to this. Those operators who came in early and took the risk are laughing all the way to the bank. Those who shied away in those days are ready to pay a fortune to enter this market now.

Many state governments have actively started developing their states by creating a friendly environment for investment. The consumers in this country are very sophisticated and are capable of paying for quality products and services. All that it requires is for somebody to offer them the quality consistently.

There are two ways to look at Nigeria’s absence of infrastructure – either viewing it as an opportunity to develop it, or waiting till somebody does it.
The Nigerian economy is growing, and this is leading to a demand for quality housing, office space and other related real estate infrastructure. Currently the rentals in certain areas of Lagos are probably the highest in the world, mainly because of the shortage of quality property. There is a huge gap in demand and supply, and the market is open to developers to fill the gap.


You may visit Palms Shopping Mall website on www.thepalmsshopping.com

Frank Advice:
With the acute shortage in office spaces and shopping malls in Nigerian cities, why tie down your money in real estate development elsewhere? The return on investment is amazing. Be wise! Ndudi Osakwe, IBG Nigeria.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It is Small World in Nigeria!

Small World is an annual event usually held in February by the Expatriate and Foreign Residents Community in Nigeria to raise funds for charity organizations supported by the various nationalities. Hundreds of thousands of US Dollars are raised at the event from gate takings, corporate and embassies sponsorship.


This is possible because they feel welcomed in Nigeria and have the urge to give back to the country many of them now call their home. Food, drinks and culture of the various nations are shared amongst the more than five thousand guests invited to grace the occasion.

It is a high profile event looked forward to by all Expats and Foreign Residents in the country especially Lagos, the commercial hub of Nigeria. It is hoped that through this community from well over 80 countries worldwide, foreign direct investment and good will would flow into Nigeria.

Moreover, overseas companies can take advantage of the reservoir of their very educated and highly skilled natives married to Nigerians (called the Nigerwives), most of whom enjoy dual citizenship as Nigerians as well, to invest in the country. A huge human capital resource base waiting to be harnessed; no more Work Permit, no more Resident Permit, no more wahala!

To learn more on the advantages of hiring Nigerwives, email us on ibgnigeria@gmail.com

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Creating an Urban Oasis from Stress in Lagos, Nigeria*

For many foreign businesses, entering the West African market equates to uncertainty. Plagued with corruption, weak political institutions, economic instability, and a whole host of other concerns that are singled out in the media, West Africa has it share of problems.

Nonetheless, with problems, comes opportunities to expand the economic market, and the California-based Bluefield Associates Inc (the proud manufacturer of Clear Essence Skin Care), is using this opportunity to provide much needed holistic, wellness, and relaxation services to the residents of Lagos, Nigeria.

According to Ms. Maisha Scott, the Vice President for Africa for Bluefield Associates, Inc- one of the partnering companies behind the spa project - Nigeria has the largest population of any African country and is growing; as soon as you walk the streets of Lagos, its commercial capital, you feel the effects of this trend.

In addition to the residents, Lagos serves as home for many diplomats, expatriates, telecommunication, financial services and oil companies employees, all living harmoniously in a stressful, yet welcoming, environment.

Maisha notes,
"one can not avoid stress in Nigeria." It is a part of the lifestyle there. The only thing you can do is learn to manage the stress, and that is what our destination spa will assist with."
Our goal is to help our clients unwind, relax, and wash the stress away, while educating them on healthy eating techniques, breathing exercises, and overall holistic health.

For more on Clear Essence Spa, visit their website on http://www.clearessencecaliforniaspa.com

Comment: Bring your franchise to Nigeria...well, the risks are there but can be managed. If in doubt, ask Ms Scott, Bluefield Associates and owners of the Clear Essence skin care franchise. Call us for advise. Email Ndudi Osakwe on ibgnigeria@gmail.com.

First reported in African Travel Magazine (www.africa-ata.org/ng_spa.htm)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

HOW CORPORATE AMERICA REALLY VIEWS AFRICA.

The US Chamber of Commerce mission of the Africa Business Initiative is to engage the U.S. business community on policies that foster foreign direct investment in Africa, to facilitate trade between the United States and African countries, and to expose the U.S. business community to the continent’s vast economic opportunities.

In partnership with Baird’s CMC, an inside-the-boardroom survey of attitudes toward corporate investment in Africa among leading U.S. corporations was conducted. An excerpt of the executive summary has been presented here for your information, while you may access www.uschamber.com/international/mideast for details.

• U.S. executives point out that Africa is only one of many possible destinations that American corporations consider for investment. Investment is highly competitive, and many countries are vying to become the destination of choice for capital. That said, U.S. companies in some sectors, particularly technology, now regard Africa as the last frontier for growth.

• These companies believe that Africa, with its market of about 1 billion people, can no longer be ignored. Even with this interest, Africa faces tough competition and huge hurdles to attract U.S. investment.

• Globally, competition for American FDI is high. Countries from all regions showcase their advantages, align their offers to U.S. needs, clamor for attention, and invest in their own countries to attract additional investment. Consequently, U.S. corporations do not lack investment choices, and they rarely consider African nations. Further, news about Africa is largely about chaos and unrest.

• Africa is not active or aggressive enough about attracting investment; the voices of the few countries that are making an effort get lost in the surrounding negative noise. Some African countries are making special efforts to assist foreign companies that invest. For example, Nigeria’s president regularly engages with the local leaders of foreign companies to help cut through bureaucratic tape.

• U.S. corporations need a strong and specific draw from Africa to make investment worthwhile. This can be the lure of a robust market, a big source of critical raw materials, or a belief that there is a competitive advantage to early entry into African markets.

• Overall, U.S. businesses do not view Africa as an attractive place to invest. The image of lawlessness, corruption, unstable governments, an inadequate infrastructure, uneducated or untrained people, and an unwelcoming government attitude toward business serve as major deterrents.

Footnote: Africa is made up of many nations and each has its own character.

According to Professor Charles Soludo, the immediate past Governor of the Nigerian Central Bank at the 2006 World Economic Forum, Johannesburg, South Africa ‘we must begin to differentiate Africa as a mere geographical expression…it happens to be that all these countries are banded by geography, but in terms of the economics, the potentials and prospects, they are as different as they are similar.

While I agree that Africa has much to do in setting growth and development targets, the international media is not helping matters.

Again, in the words of Professor Charles Soludo, ‘whenever images of Africa appeared on TV, they were almost related to one calamity or another; in sharp contrast to images of Asia, traditionally depicted by the media as an economic success’. According to Mr. Jim Goodnight, Chief Executive Officer, SAS, an America software company, foreign direct investment do not flow into an area that is perceived to be on a low growth plateau. A strong call for rebranding of the continent has become necessary more than ever before. Time has come to see a different Africa on TV.

With reference to Nigeria, more than ever before, Nigeria is inundated by skilled and experienced home grown and Diaspora human capital needed to jump start the economy. Corporate America should exploit this opportunity!

On inadequate infrastructure, the poor transportation network, erratic power supply, insufficient housing, inadequate ICT penetration are good reasons to invest in Nigeria. Returns on investment are well over thirty percent and repatriation of funds is guaranteed. Good reasons to gloss over the risks and take the plunge.

It worked for the Chinese people. At a time no decent country would touch Nigeria with a long pole, much less taking interest in its economy, no thanks to a debt overhang of $35 billion (since forgiven), a rating as one of the most corrupt nations in the World (recently improved rating); China waved off the risks and took the plunge.

While Nigeria’s known traditional trading allies, Britain and the United States of America keep moaning about the hostile business environment and pervasive insecurity of lives and properties in the country, the Chinese befriend the local people, play football with them, take commuter buses and learn the local languages.

For more information on how we can assist you with entry into the Nigerian and West African market, contact Ndudi Osakwe on ibgnigeria@gmail.com

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Coming to Nigeria? Mind the Gap!

London residents and visitors to the city, using the Underground, are familiar with the phrase ‘Mind the Gap’, a warning to train passengers of the sometimes significant gap between the train door and the station platform

We have informed you about the opportunities available in Nigeria for discerning investors and daring entrepreneurs to make money in the country. We have also given you several reasons why the time is now to consider giving franchise to Nigeria; one of the reasons being the pool of well educated and experienced repatriates (Nigerians in Diaspora) coming back home to roost.

So many reasons abound why Nigeria remains a country awaiting discovery…abundant natural resources, huge market, gateway to ECOWAS, highly literate population, good for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) etc.

It is however also important that we alert you of the increase in kidnapping activities in the country. Now Nigeria ranks number 6 in the World kidnapping list!

According to a news report by Toyosi Ogunseye in the Nigerian Punch newspapers (www.punchontheweb.com), what started in Nigeria as a way of drawing attention to the neglect of the Niger Delta area has become a money-spinning criminal act.

Kidnapping of foreigners by militants, crude as it was, drew attention to the plight of the inhabitants of the region, who have incessantly complained of being neglected by various governments.

In the beginning, kidnappers concentrated mainly on expatriate workers of multinational oil corporations. As at 2007, an estimated 200 expatriates were reportedly abducted and their ransoms paid. It is, however, no longer strange to hear that Nigerians are kidnapping their fellow citizens. Now, people kidnap their friends, uncles and aunties take their nieces and nephews hostage unlike in the past when only strangers were involved in this cruel act. There is also the novel trend of ‘victims’ conniving with their abductors to extort money.

Gradually, hostage taking crept into other parts of the country. It is competing with predominant crimes like robbery and murder. With reported cases in Lagos, Abuja, Owerri, Kano and Kaduna, hostage taking has become a nationwide phenomenon. The April 16, 2009 abduction of a Canadian guest of Rotary Club International, District 9120, Mrs. Julie Ann Mulligan, in Kaduna, Kaduna State is still fresh (since released).

Though the casualty rate is low in Nigeria, victims have told tales of torture, harassment and psychological trauma they would live with for the rest of their lives. In a bid to assure Nigerians of their safety, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, recently said the police would soon establish special squads in cities with very high cases of kidnapping.

Section 364 of Nigeria‘s criminal code prescribes a punishment of 10 years imprisonment for anyone found guilty of the felony of kidnapping. Little is, however, known of suspected kidnappers that have been charged to court.

The Public Relations Office of the Lagos Police Command has presented some tips on how to prevent getting kidnapped and surviving strategies in hostage situations.

Some of these tips include:
• Vary your routes as well as the timings when going out and coming
• Driving in the centre lane of a multiple lane highway
• Never leave the kids in a car unattended
• Operators of schools particularly junior schools should employ well trained security personnel
• Avoid going out alone

And if in a hostage situation, these clues may help!
• Do not attempt to fight the captors or try to resist being taken hostage
• Follow the instructions of your captors as they are in a highly emotional state and could be deadly, especially in the first 30 minutes.
• Try to drink water and eat food in order to maintain strength.
• If there is any rescue attempt by force, drop quickly to the floor and seek cover. Keep your hands on your head. When appropriate, identify your self.
• Escape only if you are sure you will be successful.
• Suggest ways you may be of benefit to the captors in negotiations that could free you. Never plead, beg or cry.

Let us add that you should always seek travel advisory from your country on situations on the ground, restive areas to be avoided and locate local help.

We wish to reiterate that Nigeria remains good for business and many of your types are enjoying their stay in the country-having fun and making money. The advice here is for you to ask all the pertinent questions before arrival and be vigilant while here.

You may contact the local police station nearest to your location or your embassy. In Lagos, the Rapid Response Squad telephone contacts are +234 1 774 5705, +234 1 774 5706 and a toll free emergency number, 767 and the Command Control Room on +234 806 035 7795.

Where possible, we may be able to offer some advice on ‘baseline conditions’. Email us on ibgnigeria@gmail.com or call Ndudi Osakwe on +234 80 2353 0007.

Friday, April 10, 2009

CommunicAsia 2009 and the Nigerian ICT- related Mission to Singapore


SINGAPORE...where else?
'Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) offers one of the best regulatory agencies in the World for countries wanting to play catch-up in embracing new convergence technologies' (Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General, International Telecom. Union)

In collaboration with Orissa Associates, award winning Singapore based international business consulting outfit, Infoplus/IBG Nigeria is proposing an ICT related Mission to Singapore, June 13-21, 2009. This timely Mission has being put together by us to heighten the awareness and participation of the Nigerian community, both private and public on the utility of ICT as a socio economic development tool.

To raise its head in the comity of nations in terms of ICT, countries have been advised to brace up and make use of the opportunities offered by ICTs for development and enhancing competitiveness. Experts have pointed out that ICT has become an essential instrument in the attainment of the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially in the area of poverty reduction by the year 2015. The Mission presents an opportunity to network and dialogue with some of the best brains in the industry.

Singapore launched its 10-year infocomm master plan, the Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015) in June 2006. The plan is to spearhead the transformation of key economic sectors, government and society through more sophisticated and innovative use of infocomm, and set the stage for a whole new digital world of possibilities and opportunities by 2015.

Schedule*:

Day 1: Arrival at Changi International Airport, Singapore.
Day 2: Briefing by Orissa Associates and City Tours
Day 3: Briefing by Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and Media Development Authority (MDA) at CommunicAsia conference 2009
Day 4: Round table presentation on ICT opportunities in Nigeria and meeting with International Enterprise (IE) Singapore at the CommunicAsia conference 2009.
Day 5: Meeting with major ICT System Integrators.
Day 6: Sight seeing and Night Safari.
Day 7: Free and Easy. Departure from Singapore
*subject to change without notice

Testimonies: Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Information and Communication, Nigerian Communication Commission, Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Edo State Government, Ministries of Information, Commerce and Industry and the Governor’s Office etc.

For more information on your nominations, contact Ndudi Osakwe on 080 2353 0007 or email ibgnigeria@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

DUBAI BUSINESS SUMMIT

Infoplus/IBG Nigeria and All Eyes on Africa (Maryland USA)
invite you to Dubai Business Summit.
Venue: JW Marriott Hotel, Dubai, UAE
Date: June 15-20, 2009

Dubai would remain relevant in global business for many years to come. The aim of the Dubai Business Summit is to assist with market entry into Dubai. So, establish your presence there by getting a foothold. Participants are from the US, UAE and Nigeria/Africa. Take advantage of the networking opportunities the summit presents.

The summit would investigate business opportunities in the sectors as below:

• Property
• Retail Trade
• Oil & Gas
• Tourism
• Health Care
• Logistics and other services

There would be a pep talk on recession proof investments in Dubai. Sites visits, tours and desert safaris are part of the package.

Register now as spaces are filling up quickly. Call Ndudi Osakwe on 080 2353 0007 or email him on ibgnigeria@gmail.com

Saturday, March 21, 2009

CNN's documentary misses new face of Lagos

It was about time to leave house two mornings ago when I heard a reporter on the Cable Network News (CNN) mention 'Lagos'. I stopped to listen. It was a story on the worst places for expatriates to work in the world, and apparently, Lagos topped the list. The report was based on Business Week's findings and other places mentioned included Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and some city in India but we had pride of place as the very worst host of all the world's countries to expatriates.

The reporter, whose name I can't recall at the moment, told the CNN desk anchor he was trying to reach an expatriate in Lagos who would talk about his experiences here. He didn't forget to throw in a jibe when he said the difficulty in reaching that expatriate confirmed his theory about the state of affairs in Lagos. According to the reporter, the issues in Lagos included severe crime, horrendous traffic and many other major problems.

He finally got through to the Lagos expatriate and it turned out to be Roland Ebelt, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Bottling Company, makers of Coca-Cola, an expatriate who had been resident in Lagos for eight years. Roland Ebelt didn't put a foot wrong once, saying the city wasn't as bad as some painted it, and he actually had had a good time, majorly, for almost a decade. When asked what his greatest challenge in Lagos was, Ebelt said it was the housing issue. Now, that made me smile. Apparently the M.D. of Coca-Cola has difficulty with finding a home. Would that be not finding a house with Olympic-sized swimming pools?

As the CNN report on Lagos went on, pictures of the city were shown, overhead shots of cluttered-up roads, clumps of bananas in busy markets and hundreds of dirty, cracked feet, "moving in despair." When skyscrapers were shown, the lenses of the camera had heaps of refuse in the foreground. One can only make wild guesses as to the underlying reasons for this approach to the issues in Lagos. To add some spice, a shot of some East African city was added. How did I know that wasn't Lagos? All African faces might look the same to the CNN editor who spliced the tape, but we know who's who when we see them. The skin hue and shape of head were East African, the landmarks in that particular shot were not recognizable to any Lagosian and the vehicles had registration numbers alien to Nigeria. Not the most intelligent piece of editing I've seen in my life.

I'm no expatriate but I should give CNN, Business Week and their employees a crash course on Lagos. The city is divided into three islands adjacent to each other and the mainland. All expatriates are based on two of the islands; Ikoyi and Victoria Island and they rarely leave those places. Those two islands contain some of the finest homes and landscapes on the continent. Expatriates in Lagos live in paradise. The foreigner, particularly the Caucasian-type, is treated like a King here; by the law enforcement agencies, the citizens and in the market place. The respect given to the expatriate borders on subservience and this phenomenon arising from some of the most street-savvy people in the world would be a worthy study for sociologists.

It would be a bad argument and an immature one, to point back to CNN's home country and say, 'and you too' and that land has many of its own "and you toos" but Lagos should be painted in its own colours, and not through the eyes of prejudice. The traffic in Lagos, if any these days, is caused by the government's on-going renovation of old roads and bridges and the construction of new ones.

The huge swathes of new roads all over Victoria Island, where the expatriates live and work, is a good example.

The congestion of Oshodi market shown in the CNN report is now no more, cleared of all impediments to traffic by the authorities. Objectivity requires that you tell a story as it is. A report deliberately skewered to tell the reporter's own bias is dangerous and makes one wonder at the truthfulness of many of the stories told.

Severe crime directed at expatriates is almost non-existent. Which criminal is going to come against the heavily-fortified and well-guarded work-places and homes of the expatriates in Ikoyi and Victoria Island? The CNN camera should have shown some of these homes and estates. The expatriate in Lagos moves off the islands only with armed police guards. Some have been known to drive against traffic (illegally) on one-way streets, something impossible to do in their homelands, but there's very little you cannot get away with here if you are an expatriate. Maybe that approach to the report would have been a better one. A friend once refused to give way to an 'expatriate's vehicle' driving down the wrong way with an armed escort, telling the 'expat', "you do things here you could never do in your home-country and malign this land when you leave."

For the first time, I truly, fully understand the purpose of the cable television programme, 'Studio 53', showing the best this continent has to offer. Time after time, I have seen wondrous, beautiful places in Africa, Lagos inclusive, on Studio 53; things that would not make 'a good report' for CNN, and I'd rather no one gave me the example of its 'Inside Africa'. If we don't tell our stories, CNN will not.

Comments from Ndudi Osakwe, IBG Nigeria: I do not know of any other country except Nigeria, that Expatriates are so pampered and they have so much fun. As noted by Mr. Oguntokun, they stay in the best of neighborhoods, have a handful of housemaids and drivers at their beck and call, their kids attend very expensive private schools. In addition to having security guards with them wherever they go, they are well respected to a fault by their Nigerian hosts.

While their contributions to the economic development of Nigeria are enormous, the truth should be told that the best of times await any expatriate that consider posting to Nigeria. Just accept the offer without questions! After all, many that have come have refused other postings or relocation to other countries.

* Oguntokun is a playwright and theatre director in Lagos and contributed this article to the Nigerian Guardian Newspapers (www.ngrguardiannews.com)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

TIME TO CONSIDER GIVING OUT FRANCHISE TO NIGERIA

I felt agitated after reading the Moody’s report on the state of the US economy.

The report states that there will be a lot more bankruptcies. Moody's places 283 companies on its bottom-rung list, up from 157 a year ago. Companies exposed to consumer spending have it toughest. The industries most represented on the list are media, automotive, retail and manufacturing. Companies in the most acute danger are those with reduced cash flow and a high debt load.

A lot of big, well-known companies are in danger. On the list: Advanced Micro Devices; AirTran; AMR (parent of American Airlines); Chrysler; Duane Reade; Eastman-Kodak; Ford; General Motors; JetBlue; Krispy Kreme; Palm; R.H. Donnelly; Reader's Digest Association; Rite-Aid; UAL (parent of United Airlines); Unisys; and US Airways.

Many of the other firms on the list are second- or third-tier suppliers to automakers, airlines, and other troubled firms. Being on the list doesn't mean a firm is destined for bankruptcy. But it does mean the company faces severe constraints in terms of raising new capital, making new investments, and hiring. Instead of expanding, it may be far more inclined to sell assets, streamline or close divisions and lay people off to cut costs and raise cash.

America's malls are going to end up looking a lot different. The retail sector is obviously getting hammered, with chains like Circuit City and Linens 'n Things already out of business. Many other retail chains are in trouble. Also on the bottom-rung list: Barney's; BCBG Maz Azria; Blockbuster; Brookstone; Claire's Stores; Eddie Bauer; Finlay Fine Jewelry; Harry & David; Loehmann's; Michael's Stores; Oriental Trading Co.; and Sbarro.

Again, this doesn't mean the company is doomed. But many of these firms will restructure, close outlets, shrink, and find ways to transform themselves.

Restructure! Yes! Somehow, I missed a seminar on franchising coordinated by Anayo Agu of the US Commercial Service, Lagos, Nigeria recently, what other time would have been appropriate? Not with this dismal and moody report from Moody!

Franchising is a business strategy that allows entrepreneurs with a successful business (franchisers) to expand more rapidly than they might otherwise by allowing other independent entrepreneurs (franchisees) to participate.

Opportunities in Nigeria and West Africa go well beyond the traditional industries associated with franchising (retail and restaurants), and include sectors such as oil and gas, telecommunications, transportation, education and healthcare etc. The possibilities are almost limitless with returns on investment well over 30% in some cases.

Paradoxically, Western franchisers were reluctant to exploit the opportunities inherent in emerging African economies. Now is the time to have a rethink, ignore those tell-tale signs and take a plunge.

There are four factors why Franchisers should take a second look at Nigeria.

a. With consumers shutting their wallets as a result of job security fears, corporate revenues plunging and the credit crunch, franchising is a sure way to transform your business,
b. More Nigerians; educated and worked in the US and Europe are returning home for good. Engaging them would provide franchisers with top notch managers of time and business,
c. Franchising provides your business with an international brand outlook, recognized and patronized by loyal customers. The geographical labour mobility created by the meltdown provides an opportunity to follow your customers and clients to where they now operate or travel to. The trickle down effects could be awesome.
d. Expect buoyancy from near neighbor patronage. Existing franchises such as Shoprite, Game, Nandos, Wranglers and home made ones such as Mr. Biggs, Sweet Sensation are reaping profits. Same apply to franchises in other sectors as well. Whoever thought that fitness equipment would sell in Nigeria? The buyers are local Nigerians, especially the women, empowered by the fortunes in jobs in oil and gas, telecoms, financial services etc, expatriates, foreign residents and politicians.

A World Bank study have shown that the corruption index, rule of law and other enabling factors are worse in countries such as Malaysia, Russia, India and China (all emerging economies that North American franchisers are so eager to get into).

The US Ex-Im Bank export program has made the issue of franchising easier for the franchiser (US company) and the franchisee (Nigerian company). The Country Limitation Schedule recently released by the US Ex-Im Bank and effective from February 26, 2009, provides Nigerian businesses and the public sector with unfettered access to credit facilities of up to seven years if they meet loan requirements. Infoplus/IBG Nigeria and Trade Credit Group render this service to discerning Nigerian companies through a local US Bank serving as the exporters’ underwriter.

Our Partner, Gregory S. Davis, past Director, office of Export Development, California Trade, Technology and Commerce Agency and principal consultant, IBG Global located in California, USA has carried out tremendous FDI study in the US fast food franchises and would be willing to assist prospects looking to open up discussions with major US food franchises.

For businesses that do no require franchising, opening an office or locating a plant in Nigeria could be the harbinger of better prospects in coming years. Consider the huge market, its reservoir of educated home grown human resources and repatriates, citizens’ hedonistic desire for ostentatious brands and the opportunities made available by the lack of adequate infrastructure. Now, you know why Nigeria tops Africa’s investment index.

For inquiries, contact Ndudi Osakwe on ibgnigeria@gmail.com.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Export-Import Bank of the United States Affirms Continuing Financing Support for U.S. Exports to Nigeria

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) remains open to help finance U.S. exports to Nigeria, contrary to published reports in Africa. (In the recently released country limitation schedule effective February 26, 2009, Nigeria’s private and public sectors were qualified to receive all levels of support).

"Ex-Im Bank remains positive about financing U.S. exports to Nigerian buyers," said J. Joseph Grandmaison, the member of the Bank's board of directors who focuses on promoting financing of U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa. "In fact, at this moment, we have a number of pending transactions in Nigeria and are looking forward to doing even more business there."

In Fiscal Year 2008 Ex-Im Bank authorized approximately $197 million of loan guarantees and export credit insurance for export sales to Nigeria, with exposure in Nigeria totaling about $327 million.

In June, 2008, Ex-Im Bank more than doubled the size of its Nigerian Bank Facility to $1 billion. The facility covering 14 Nigerian banks allows for expedited processing of short- and medium-term insurance and guarantee transactions in support of U.S. exports to Nigeria, and it now accommodates long-term transactions as well.

Ex-Im Bank is the official export-credit agency of the United States. The independent, self-sustaining federal agency, now in its 75th year, helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by financing the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export-credit insurance and direct loans. For more information, visit www.exim.gov

Footnote: Ndudi Osakwe, Infoplus/IBG Nigeria has entered partnership with Joaquin Frias, Trade Credit Group/IBG Mexico as independent consultants to provide soft access to US EXIM Bank facility by Nigerian private and public sectors looking to buy machinery and equipment from the US.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nigeria, Ethiopia top African investment index

Nigeria and Ethiopia topped a new index of African potential investor destinations on Wednesday, with the survey organisers saying the continent offers good potential growth even against the global economic crisis.

The world‘s poorest continent had seen an investment boom in recent years, but flows into the region are seen drying up as the global financial crisis and falling commodity prices take the shine off what were seen as promising frontier markets.

Business consultancy, African Rainbow‘s Star of Africa index ranks 53 African countries in terms of their investment potential in various fields, with its creators arguing that potential growth in energy, water and communications consumption could amply reward investors taking the risk, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

”It is for investors to make sure they don‘t miss a trick by overlooking a country they would otherwise have missed,” Chief Executive of African, Rainbow, Katharine Pulvermacher, said.

”Africa is going to overtake the Middle East to become the second fastest growing region in the world after emerging Asia. It will be affected by the global financial crisis but it is much less exposed than many places,” she added.

Comment: The global financial meltdown may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Nigeria. What is needed is for the Government to put in place the right infrastructure, then watch Nigeria become biblical Canaan, flowing with milk and honey. Ndudi Osakwe, IBG Nigeria.

Source: http://www.punchontheweb.com

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nigeria Trade Fairs 2009

FEBRUARY
Name: Specialized Education Fair (SEF)
Date: 16th – 22nd February 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialized
Name: Office Exhibition (OE)
Date: 16th – 20th February 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialised
Name: International Job Fair (IJF)
Date: 16th - 20th February 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialized
Name: Spirituality Expo (SE)
Date: 16th - 20th February 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialized
Name: Delta Domestic Trade Fair
Date: 19th February-2nd March 2009
Venue: Permanent Trade Fair Complex, Warri
Organiser: Delta State Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Nature: General

MARCH
Name: 30th Kaduna International Trade Fair
Date: 6th-15th march, 2009.
Venue: Kaduna International Trade & Investment Centre, Kaduna
Organiser: Kaduna Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Nature: General
Name: International Fashion Fair (IFF)
Date: 15th – 25th March 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited, Lagos
Nature: Specialized
Name: Organized Jewellery Expo (OJE)
Date: 15th – 25th March 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialized
Name: 20th Enugu International Trade Fair
Date: 27th March- 6th April 2009
Venue: International Trade Fair Complex, Enugu
Organiser: Enugu Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Nature: General

APRIL
Name: 2009 Lagos Mega Trade Fair
Date: 3rd – 13th April 2009
Venue: Tafawa Balewa Square, Race Course, Lagos
Organizer: Osworld Associates Limited, Lagos
Nature: General
Name: Imo Trade Fair
Date: 9th – 20th April 2009
Venue: Owerri
Organizer: Owerri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nature: General
Name: 1st Port –Harcourt Commercial and Industrial Fair
Date: 17th – 30th April 2009
Venue: Isaac Boro Park, Port Harcourt, Rivers State
Organizer: T-Math Limited. Lagos
Nature: General
Name: 15th North East Joint Domestic Trade Fair
(Bornu/Adamawa/Yobe/Taraba/Gombe/Bauchi)
Date: April 2009
Venue: Babangida Square Bauchi
Organiser: Bornu Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BACCIMA)
Nature: General
Name: Furniture world (FW)
Date: 20th – 30th April 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialized
Name: Entertainment Fair (EF)
Date: 20th – 30th April 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialized
Name: Communications, Electronics and Household Trade Fair
Date: 20th – 30th April 2009
Venue: Calabar Cultural Centre, Calabar
Organizer: Christfaith Resources Limited, Abuja
Nature: General
Name: Arts Exhibition (AE)
Date: 20th – 30th April 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialized
Name: Gateway Trade Fair
Date: 21st April – May 2009
Venue: M.K.O. Abiola Trade Fair Complex, Abeokuta
Organizer: Ogun State Council of Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Nature: General
Name: Markets and Shop Com Shopping Festival
Date: 25th April to 2nd May 2009
Venue: Tafawa Balewa Square
Organizer: Incapint Limited, Lagos
Nature: General

MAY
Name: 2009 Abuja International Trade Fair
Date: 7th – 17th May 2009
Venue: Old Parade Ground, Area 10, Garki, Abuja
Organiser: Abuja Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Nature: General
Name: Computer Technology and Office Equipment ‘CTO 2009’
Date: 11th – 15th May, 2009
Venue: Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos
Organizer: American Embassy (commercial section), Lagos
Nature: Specialized
Name: Preferred Agricultural Fair (PAF)
Date: 20th – 27th May 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialized
Name: Real Estate Expo
Date: 20th – 27th May 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialized
Name: 11th Abuja Motor fair
Date: 20-27, May, 2009
Venue: Eagle Sq. Abuja
Organizer: BKG Exhibitions Limited
Nature: Specialised
Name: 1st Sokoto Trade Fair
Date: 28 May - 8 June, 2009
Venue: Sokoto Trade Fair Com,plex, Sokoto
Organizer: Sokoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nature: General

JUNE
Name: Kitchen and More (KM) and plumbing and More (PM)
Date: 10-20 June, 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Lagos
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialised
Name: All Nigeria Trade and Investment Expo
Date: 16-19 June, 2009
Venue: NICON Transcorp Hotel, Abuja
Organizer: BKG Exhibitions
Nature: General
Name: Nigeria Exportable Products Trade Fair
Date: June 2009
Venue: Old Parade Ground, Abuja
Organizer: Local Govts SMEs Development, Lagos
Nature: Specialised
Name: 2nd Tinapa Trade Expo
Date: June 2009
Venue: Tinapa Business Resort Limited, Calabar
Organizer: Whizzo Promotions Ltd
Nature: General

JULY
Name: International Construction Exhibitions (ICE)
Date: 5-15 July, 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulie Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialised
Name: Flowers and Landscaping Fair
Date: 5-15 July, 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialised

AUGUST
Name: Internet, Telecom and Computer Exhibition
Date: 3-9 August, 2009
Venue: Old Parade Ground, Abuja
Organizer: Abuja Chamber of Commerce
Name: Specialised International Business Fair
Date: 10-20 August, 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited
Nature: Specialised
Name: Electronic and Information Technology Fair
Date: August, 2009
Venue: Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos
Organizer: SM and LB Consulting, Surulere, Lagos
Nature: Specialised

SEPTEMBER
Name: Best of Nigeria Expo
Date: Aug/Sept. 2009
Venue: Old Parade Ground, Abuja
Organizer: Initiative Media, Lagos
Nature: General
Name: 2nd Abia Trade Fair
Date: Sept/Oct. 2009
Venue: Nsulu Games Village
Organizer: Initiative Media, Lagos
Nature: General
Name: International Auto and Machinery Exhibition
Date: 10-17 September, 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited, Lagos
Nature: Specialised
Name: Transportation Expo
Date: 10-17 September, 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited, Lagos
Nature: Specialised
Name: Pharma West Africa
Date: 1-3 September, 2009
Venue: Shehu Yar'Adua Centre, Abuja
Organizer: Global Resources and Projects, Lagos
Nature: Specialised

OCTOBER
Name: West Africa Health 2009
Date: 7-9 October, 2009
Venue: Expo Hall, Eko Hotel, Lagos
Organizer: Global Resources and Projects, Lagos
Nature: Specialised
Name: Nigeria Consumer Goods Fair
Date: 8-19 October, 2009
Venue: Old Parade Ground, Abuja
Organizer: Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nature: General
Name: Odu’a International Agric. Fair
Date: October 2009
Venue: Adamasingba Sports Complex, Ibadan, Oyo state
Organiser: Odu’a Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Nature: General
Name: Health and Lifestyle Trade Promotion Fair
Date: October, 2009
Venue: National Museum, Onikan, Lagos
Organizer: Kellow West Africa, Lagos
Nature: General
Name: Energy Expo and Expo Medics
Date: 21-28 October, 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulie Nigeria Limited, Lagos
Nature: Specialised
Name: Jos Trade Fair
Date: 22 October -2 November, 2009
Venue: Trade Fair Ground, Jos
Organizer: Plateau Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nature: General
Name: Kwara Trade Fair
Date: October 2009
Venue: The Baseball Pitch, Ilorin,
Organizer: Kwara Chmaber of Commerce and Industry
Nature: General
Name: 5th Lagos Motor Fair
Date: 14-22 October, 2009
Venue: Tafawa Balewa Sq. Lagos
Organizer: BKG Exhibitions, Lagos
Nature: Specialised

NOVEMBER
Name: Kano International Trade Fair
Date: 19th November – 2nd December 2009
Venue: Trade Fair Complex, Zoo Road, Kano
Organiser: Kano Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Nature: General
Name : Lagos International Trade Fair 2009
Date: 6th-15th November 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organiser: Lagos Chamber Of Commerce and Industry
Nature: General
Name: Agrotech Africa Expo
Date: 19-21 November, 2009
Venue: Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos
Organizer: Specialised
Name: Auction Fest
Date: 23-30 November, 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Lagos
Organizer: Southwood Intercontinental Ent. Ltd
Nature: Specialised
Name: Edo Domestic Trade Fair
Date: November 2009
Venue: Permanent Trade Fair Complex, Benin City
Organizer: Benin Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nature: General
Name: 8th Akwa Fair
Date: Nov/Dec. 2009
Venue: Permanent Trade Fair Complex, Uyo
Organizer: Uyo/Ikot Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nature: General

DECEMBER
Name: Textiles and More
Date: 2-9 December, 2009
Venue: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex
Organizer: Aulic Nigeria Limited, Lagos
Nature: Specialised
Name: 19th Port Harcourt Trade Fair
Date: 10-22 December, 2009
Venue: Isaac Boro Park, Port Harcourt
Organizer: Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nature: General
Name: Earth Africa 2009
Date: December, 2009
Venue: Tafawa Balew Complex, Lagos
Organizer: Initiative Media, Lagos
Nature: General

Source: NACCIMA, Lagos, Nigeria

For more information, contact Ndudi Osakwe on ibgnigeria@gmail.com

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lagos State, Nigeria Marches Forward

We do not need official statistics to recognize the strides that Lagos state is taking to change the face of Greater Lagos Area. Other states could be doing greater things but Lagos remains the cynosure of our eyes, perhaps being the commercial hub of Nigeria or because of its enormous population that has bestowed on it a mega city status.

Being a mega city in itself is troubling as it suggests that infrastructure has to be enough for the teeming population that call Lagos their home. Further, it has to be attractive enough to retain its commercial hub status and to attract new ones. It is therefore newsworthy to read of several projects embarked upon by the state government to meet with the infrastructure needs of the people in the 21st century.

Realizing the weight of the tasks ahead, the state has equally called on the private sector and foreign investors to consider Lagos state for their business, providing opportunities for franchising, concessions and adoption of projects such as roads etc.

In other to make the state investment friendly while ensuring that its residents were not frustrated, the state government has accelerated its transportation project which this year, 2009 would include the railways to buoy the bus rapid transit and jetties. The state has construed an energy village, use of wind as an alternative energy and floated a 50 billion Naira infrastructure development bond to boost investment in the state, the governor Babatunde Fashola calls the 'investment haven of the whole world'.

Landscaping and planting of trees is taking place in all parts of the state to improve the aesthetics of the city while serving as absorbents for the high level of carbon emissions from the numerous vehicles that ply its roads and highways, exacerbated by bad roads, snarling traffic and the introduction of motorbikes.

Activities of the Lagos state government leave no one in doubt of their desire to reach their set goals in the realization of the UN Millennium Development Goals through its SEEDS programs and the 20-2020 initiative of the Federal Government, hence the call for state residents and corporate bodies to meet up with their tax obligations to the state.

Lagos state has not hidden its urgent desire to transform the state to a highly industrialized state with the various economic summits held, the opening of the Lekki Free Zone and plans to open up more business zones away from Lagos Island.

This state is not interested in aids but partnership; the governor reminded the visiting German President, Horst Koehler. However, the type of business development expected has to be different from the conventional pathways adopted by Germany and other countries during the ‘smokestack’ industrial revolution. This makes Mr. Koehler’s visit particularly significant as Nigeria and Germany signed an energy partnership. Lagos state and in fact the entire country should not be considered a dumping ground for overused machinery and spent technology from the West as presently witnessed in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) sector.

Lagos state government should continue in its efforts at providing new or improved programs to better capture the enormous potential for energy savings in existing industries and proposed facilities due to their impact on the environment and economic development.

In other words, efficiency improvements to generate more economic output with less energy input, for instance, in production processes and urban transportation systems is essential for reasons of energy supply security, economic competitiveness, improvement in livelihoods, and environmental sustainability.

Lagos state should learn from the mistakes of rapidly developing countries including Brazil, Russia, India and China by deploying technologies that are sustainable, energy efficient and would improve the quality of life of its 14million people. As a microcosm of the entire country, other states would emulate its pathway to economic development if properly implemented. The Federal Government should on its part grant Lagos a special status to enable it continue to function as the state for all Nigerians and visitors to Nigeria.

Ndudi Osakwe
IBG Nigeria

Friday, January 9, 2009

NIGERIA IN 2009

That Nigeria’s economy would be in a dire strait in 2009 is no longer news; not with the fall in the price of petrol in the international market and the much talked about and already pinching global economic meltdown. Capital flights by foreign investors to bail out parent companies in their ailing economies have not helped matters.

According to Dr. Mailafia, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the global recession will have seven major effects on the Nigerian economy.

First, as an immediate consequence, it is likely to aggravate the ongoing stock market crisis. Recently, it was reported that foreign portfolio investors have withdrawn some US$15 billion from our capital markets. Such massive withdrawals compound the crisis of confidence which will further complicate the capital market recovery process.

Secondly, dwindling petroleum prices mean a severe reduction in foreign exchange earnings, which, in our case, derive overwhelmingly from the petroleum sector. Some experts are predicting that petroleum prices may come down to as low as US$30 per barrel over the coming years. Others believe we are approaching a stabilization point where the price may hold for sometime. Hardly anyone imagines that prices would recover to the levels exceeding the US$100 that we witnessed about a year ago.

Thirdly, and deriving from the above, it is likely to affect our budget plans in a major way. Already, the 2009 federal budget proposals have an inbuilt deficit of 1.09 trillion naira, a figure that many consider to be unsustainable. While government is optimistic it would be able to finance it through taxation and accruals from signature bonuses from the sale of certain privatized companies, the skeptics seem to be carrying the day.

Fourthly, lower revenue expectations through all tiers of government mean reduction of funds for much-needed investment in infrastructures development. This would not only deepen the infrastructure finance gap, it would also bedim the prospects for our much-vaunted Vision 2020 project.

Fifthly, we would have to reckon with reduction in net capital flows, both in terms of investment and concessional resources. Whilst we may not be major recipients of official development assistance (ODA), we do benefit significantly from bilateral and multilateral aid resources, which are often the soft target when developed countries face a major financial crisis. Inevitably, investment flows, both in terms of FDI and portfolio, are likely to be affected, in addition to remittances from the Nigerian Diaspora, which, according to some calculations, exceed US$2 billion annually.

Sixthly, the lowering of growth in the OECD countries will translate into lower growth in Africa as indeed in our country. Earlier estimates about growth exceeding 10 percent would clearly have to be revised downwards. We may have to be content with something of the region of 7 - 8 percent growth for 2008.

Seventh, lower growth would also mean a slowdown in the fight against poverty. Worsening poverty removes farther the prospects of our attaining the internationally agreed targets for halving the number of the poor within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the year 2015.

These are desperate times no doubt but the Nigerian economy is resilient. In fact, a former President once claimed that Nigerian economy defies all known laws of economics. It could be the hope of the people for better times ahead otherwise how else do you explain Nigeria on top of the chart of the happiest people in the world amidst suffering and lack? Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch has endorsed Nigeria as one of the safest countries for foreign investment in the entire world.

We have been receiving telephone calls and emails from people from all over the world on what the investment climate would be like in 2009. With dwindling revenue from oil, many state governments would be interested in investment proposals that appeal to their local environment as they jostle for public private partnerships. It is also time for foreign companies to consider relocating some of their plants as they change technologies for more energy efficient ones. We are not recommending that Nigeria should be turned to a dumping ground for old and environmentally hazardous industrial equipment.

Below are seven areas that an investor would not regret investing in Nigeria in 2009.

Hospitality: As recession bites, many foreign investors would seek overseas outlets for their products and services culminating in increasing patronage for hotels, restaurants and bars. In Nigeria, hotels are enjoying boom times despite their exorbitant rates. Oriental, continental restaurants and fast food eateries are all over the major cities while bars and night clubs are packed every evening by locals and foreigners. Beers and energy drinks companies are all smiling to the banks as a result of heightened patronage by revelers. Car rental companies would find the market attractive as a complementary service.

Information and Communication Technology: Nigerians may be earning less than two dollars a day but their appetite for high end smart phones with 3G capabilities are high. Mobile phone use is presently less than half the population of 150 million people, ample opportunity for mobile phone companies to set up local plants for new or refurbished phones, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) permitting. Suppliers of computers, laptops and network accessories including wireless routers, switches and data security and encryption would find a ready market here. Most banks have deployed electronic payment platforms and there is need to protect ATM users from identity and password theft. Most Nigerian banks consider expanding their offshore banking operations and need fraud and risk solution technologies as they deploy. Surveillance cameras and panic alarms are in demand as financial institutions, companies and individuals install cameras in and around their property. Internet penetration is still low. Such services are worth considering as Governments may be encouraged to deploy e-government platforms to save administrative costs while providing access to the citizenry.

Agriculture: Subsistence agriculture is widespread in the country but no longer tolerable if the country must feed itself. Improved seedlings, modern farm equipment, herbicides, storage facilities and mills for food processing are necessary in the fight against hunger, exacerbated by the use of the crops for alternative energy development. Governments are interested in partnering with companies that are willing to go into joint venture with them for aquaculture, livestock breeding and in the production of livestock feeds and fertilizers. These projects have the capacity to generate employment for the teeming youths in the various states. Manufacturers of farm equipment and consultants in these areas would make good sales.

Services (Outsourcing)-Repatriates or returnee Nigerians from Diaspora form a ready pool of skilled and experienced human resources for companies that seek best practice for their business as they consider locating in Nigeria. With exposure in management practice, health care, accounting, HR and schools, their expertise are of immense value as companies tap into the huge opportunities available in the country in these service sectors. SAT, GRE and GMAT testing remain attractive to families that desire top notch education in the US and the UK for their children. Companies in Nigeria prefer graduates from good overseas universities to local universities as the educational system have become comatose. Private primary and secondary schools are enjoying a boom and this is not likely to change soon. Preference for expatriate teachers and administrators are high, perhaps due to absence of many committed personnel in the country. This void has been filled by repatriates with adequate skill set and passion to succeed.


Construction: Public private participation in road construction by the way of concession, build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) are avenues considered by the government at various levels to contain the hydra headed problem of road dilapidation in the country. Rapid economic development is enhanced when people and products are able to move from point A to B. Mass transit rail or bus service are looked at by various governments as solutions to the transportation problems in their states. Bullet proof cars are still in high demand by chief executives of companies, embassies and the politicians. Technologies for road repairs, bridge construction, signage and traffic control would be interesting to the Governments.

Affordable housing is still out of the reach of the teeming population; therefore economic housing projects for estate development are of concern to Governments, local developers and banks, with which strategic alliance could be formed. Demand for luxury and secured housing estates is high for the expatriate population, repatriates and middle class to upper- upper income class group therefore all the appurtenances for housing construction, fittings and interior decoration remain in demand. Sand dredging especially in urban centres remains an attractive venture as more residential estates are built. Demand for security doors and locks remain high especially among the nouveau rich and the political class.

Energy:The search for reliable sources of power continues with many Governments contemplating Independent Power Plants (IPP), set up of small refineries and alternative sources such as wind, biogas and solar energy. Imports of generating sets remain high as the population subscribe to any appliance that provide them with some semblance of regular power supply. Homes and offices are in dire need of energy to power on their air-conditioners, office equipment and industrial machines. Though in the long run, the Government anticipates renewable and sustainable sources of energy development, any source of power is acceptable in near term.

Health and Medical Equipment: Many Nigerians still travel overseas for tests as routine as eye and laboratory testing and medical check up. Government hospitals and clinics are comatose and without drugs leaving the population with no choice but to seek alternative health therapy. Expatriates take leave of work to return to home country for treatable ailments such as malaria. Opportunities abound here for well equipped clinics and specialized centres for heart-related ailments, kidney problems etc. Good laboratories with modern diagnostics equipment would enjoy good patronage especially among the middle class and above, foreign residents and expatriates. Massage parlors and health spas to ease stress of living, rheumatic pains and arthritis remain a wise investment. Trading in generic drugs and syrups is a worthy investment once approval is given by National Agency for Drugs and Food Administration (NAFDAC). Consulting in alternative medicine such as acupuncture is not regrettable.


Ndudi Osakwe
IBG Nigeria/Infoplus