Coming to Lagos for the first time? How to successfully do business with Nigerians

Business is an essential part of human existence and except you plan to be the modern day Phantom of the Opera (invisible) – it is inevitable. Providing goods, services, and jobs – it plays an enormous role in society. No civilisation has existed nor can any thrive without it.
If you’re visiting Nigeria (doesn’t matter if your stay is brief or lengthy), you will most likely conduct several business transactions. Therefore, better to familiarise yourself with the terrain – taking good care to understand the unique elements (and many tribes) involved.
Doing Business with Nigerians
On a general note, make visible efforts to understand the parties involved. Your ability to compromise can make peaceful molehills out of terrible mountains.

Invest in greetings.

Ask after everyone and everything. Show concern. Good morning today, happy Sunday tomorrow – and the world goes round and round.

Learn to improvise.

Know that in the Giant of Africa, one thing can be many things. How else can you pull rabbits out of your hat?

Come bearing gifts.

Let it never be said that when the time came to ‘grease’ your way to greatness, you were found grossly unprepared.

Nigeria is an incredibly diverse place.

Different strokes, different folks. Do not limit yourself. Live and let live.


Understand the Nigerian definition of respect. Give due recognition to those older in age and occupying positions of higher authority.

Cloaks over daggers.

A private word will prove more productive than public criticism, s’il vous plait.

Yes, consistency matters.

Expect the unexpected – however, remember that little drops of water (uninterrupted) can create mighty ocean magic – even in Nigeria.

Doing Business with Nigerians