Nigeria is the largest economy in West Africa and the second largest in Africa, after South Africa. Work prospects for highly skilled expats are good, with opportunities available in a variety of sectors. Nevertheless, despite its wealth, Nigeria remains somewhat of a hardship destination, and expats working in Nigeria will most likely find themselves embittered by the daily struggle, despite the country’s continued efforts at reform within the business world.
This West African country experienced economic liberalisation in 1995 and has had a more open system available to foreign investors since then. There has certainly been a strong push to evolve business practices and to entice more skilled labourers to Nigeria; but as most expats working in Nigeria will admit, there’s much improvement still to be had in the business environment.
is notoriously associated with scams that pivot around job offers. For this reason, expats offered a position in Nigeria should confirm that the employer is legitimate by consulting with their local Nigerian Embassy, and by attempting to contact expats on the ground.
Corruption is also commonplace in Nigeria
, and it’s likely that expats working in Nigeria will be exposed to this at one point or another, particularly when negotiating business deals or even jockeying for work contracts. Connections with ministers and government officials are all-important and readily dictate levels of success or failure.
With over 250 different ethnic groups and a multitude of foreign-owned multinational companies, expats working in Nigeria will find themselves in a very diverse, and mostly welcoming, business environment.
However, adjusting to working life here may require a great deal of flexibility and patience, especially when it comes to dealing with local counterparts. It won’t be long before expats working in Nigeria find themselves a victim of the workforce policy on punctuality, “Hurry Up and Wait”. The country very much functions at a relaxed pace, even when it comes to doing business
, meaning that a meeting scheduled for 10am may very well only happen at 3pm, if at all. Prepare accordingly and learn to be as flexible as possible.
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