City Focus: Lagos
With a burgeoning population of 20mn people in the greater metropolitan area, Lagos is the most populated city both in Nigeria and in the African continent. As one of the world's fastest-growing cities, it has plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs. In fact, the city produces about 10% of Nigeria's GDP every year. Across Nigeria as a whole, Lagos is one of the easiest places to start a business in and it’s moderately easy to register property and enforce business contracts. However, due to the rapid pace of construction that is already taking place in the city, it can be difficult to get a construction permit. In these cases, it's much easier to either purchase an existing space or work with a contractor who has experience in the process.
With the highest skyline in Nigeria, Lagos has an eclectic blend of architectural styles, mixing tropical, European and ultra-modern high rise structures. The modern high rises have become more prevalent due to the wealth in the city. With a 13-year development plan underway (set to conclude in 2025), the government is planning infrastructure for an expected population of 30mn, providing plenty of opportunity for businesses and development in the area.
With a vibrant nightlife and strong music scene, Lagos has a strong entertainment industry, providing visitors to the city with outstanding options once the workday is done. Its strong growth is opening doors to an evolving modern Nigerian culture, partially fuelled by the city's many colleges and universities. A tourist destination that has been growing in popularity, the city's reputation for exceptional cuisine, beautiful beaches and football games draws a unique international crowd.
Much of Lagos' business revolves around the financial market. Several of the city's richest businesses are banks and other financial institutions, providing plenty of options for business to gain funding in the city. The three-section Port of Lagos is Nigeria's largest, providing intermodal shipping of a variety of products, mainly petroleum, which is moved by rail to the port for loading onto tankers for shipment.
Big Business in Lagos:
The Dangote Group
Listed by Forbes in 2018 as the world's wealthiest black man, Aliko Dangote started out in commodities trading in the 1970s and then established his cement company in Lagos in 1992. He has also founded salt and sugar refineries, a flour mill and several other food and industrial plants in the area to serve the region and country and promote Nigerian self-sufficiency on the global market. Expanding to include a petroleum refinery that will process 650,000 barrels a day, he's a dynamic leader who has brought significant success to the city. His expanding ventures include an upcoming petrochemical plant and a fertiliser plant. Market capitalisation for the company is in excess of USD$11bn and an annual group turnover in excess of USD$3bn.
With the Dangote Group taking up so much of the market in the push for Nigerian self-sufficiency, is it really surprising that it takes a multinational brand like Nestle to keep pace? Operating in Africa for nearly six decades, Nestle Nigeria is one of the largest food and drink companies on the continent. Employing over 2,300 employees in eight branch offices, three manufacturing plants and the corporate headquarters in Lagos, the company also reaches out to help with development across the country to improve living conditions. This branch of the international conglomerate has an estimated market capitalisation of USD$3.1bn.
Guaranty Trust Bank
Started in 1990, Guaranty Trust Bank was established on the basis of customer service and trust, a mantra which has helped it grow to become one of Nigeria's largest financial institutions. With an estimated market capitalisation of USD$2.8bn, the company has branched out into other parts of Africa and the UK. Its main social initiatives are focused on helping developmentally disabled children receive the care and support they need to succeed in life, especially those on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. The multinational financial giant receives multiple awards every year that tend to be focused on exceptional efficiency, outstanding customer service and amazing innovation. Today they employ over 10,000 people with estimated assets of USD$11.77trn.