Nigeria is calling

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Nigeria calling
Nigeria calling

It is widely known that Nigeria is a vast country with a large population. What appears to be less well understood is the FACT that Nigeria offers incredible business opportunities. See the box Nigeria at a glance. Yes, the country has its problems but, given the current political and economic upheavals, which country hasn’t? I sincerely believe that by taking the right approach and exercising patience, Nigeria offers incredible opportunities to many of South Africa’s well-established brands.
My belief was reinforced during last month’s visit by Chiagozie Nwizu. He is the founder and managing consultant of Franchise Business Development Services (FBDS) Lagos, Nigeria. I first met Chiagozie when I visited Nigeria at the end of 2015. A protracted exchange of emails and numerous telephone calls later, Chiagozie is now ready to facilitate linkages between South African franchisors and Nigerian master licensees.

Given the potential impact of this development on FASA members and the PAFF initiative, I invited Vera Valasis to the meeting and she graciously accepted. Chiagozie proved to be well-informed about the franchise scene in South Africa and stressed that South Africa is recognised as the leading player in franchising on the African continent.

Chiagozie explained that because franchising is still in its infancy in Nigeria, education will have to start at grassroots level. Well-meant initiatives of this kind undertaken in the past petered out because experts were brought in for a week-long series of workshops and meetings, followed by – nothing! Lessons have been learnt and it will be different this time round. Should foreign experts be brought in to present workshops in future then this will be linked to capacity building at a local level to ensure sustainability.

As matters stand, the government of Nigeria has identified franchising as a viable vehicle for the creation of sustainable small enterprises and wants to develop local franchise concepts. Just the other day, Chiagozie was invited to a meeting by the Office Of The Deputy President of Nigeria during which options were explored. Chiagozie was encouraged to help speed up the development of franchising by bringing reputable international brands to Nigeria.
It was Vera Valasis’ kind offer to have FASA support this undertaking that prompted me to write this article. Vera offered to make a stand available at the FBF 2018 where interested members could meet with Nigerian investors. Chiagozie accepted this offer with thanks but stressed that he needed to produce some result sooner. He is currently exploring the option of arranging a presentation to FASA members, to be held either in Johannesburg or in Pretoria. We’ll keep you posted.

Nigeria calling
Vera Valasis, Executive Director of FASA, Chiagozie Nwizu, Managing Consultant at FBDS Lagos, Nigeria and franchise expert Kurt Illetschko met at Chiagozie’s Sandton hotel to discuss the wealth of opportunities Nigeria offers FASA members.

Nigeria at a glance Total population: 186 million, expected to reach 400 million by 2050. Strong urbanisation: 50% of all Nigerians live in cities and their numbers are growing; Lagos has a population of 17.5 million people and 24 cities have populations exceeding 100,000. GDP 2016: US-$ 405.1 bio. Rapidly growing middle class: Research carried out by Standard Bank reveals that already, 4.1 mio households fall into the middle-income bracket. This number is expected to rise to 11.7 mio households by 2030.

This article was compiled by Kurt Illetschko. Kurt can be contacted at

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