flag Nigeria Nigeria: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Nigeria | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities


FDI in Figures

Nigeria is the third host economy for FDI in Africa, behind Egypt and Ethiopia. The country is among the most promising poles of growth in Africa and attracts numerous investors in the sector of hydrocarbon, energy, buildings etc. The country undergoes the effects of the oil counter-shock. According to the UNCTAD 2021 World Investment Report, FDI flows to Nigeria totalled USD 2.4 billion in 2020, showing a slight 3.5% increase from the previous year (USD 2.3 billion in 2019), despite the global economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The total stock of FDI was estimated at USD 102 billion in 2020. According to UNCTAD’ Investment Trends Monitor, global FDI flows rebounded strongly in 2021, but FDI flows to African countries (excluding South Africa) rose only moderately. Some of the main investing countries in Nigeria include the USA, China, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France.

Nigeria intends to diversify its economy away from oil by building a competitive manufacturing sector, which should facilitate integration into global value chains and boost productivity. The merging of trade, industry and investment under the ambit of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment reflects Nigeria's intention to effectively coordinate between these three key areas to improve its trading and investment environment. Some of the country's main advantages are a partially privatized economy, an advantageous taxation system, significant natural resources and a low cost of labor. On the other hand, widespread corruption, political instability, lack of transparency, security issues, import restrictions and poor quality of infrastructure are limiting the country's FDI potential. Intense bureaucracy also curbs foreign investment.

In the World Bank's 2020 edition of Doing Business Report, Nigeria ranked 131st worldwide, for the ease of doing business. This represent a leap from 2019 edition when the country was ranked 146th. The country has improved in many subcategories of the rankings: Starting a business, Dealing with construction permits, Getting electricity, Registering property, Trading across borders, and Enforcing contracts. Nigeria appears as one of the top-10 improvers for the second time. The country has been attracting strong inflows from American companies, including giants like Uber, and Facebook, as well as Emergent Payments, and Meltwater Group. China has also been investing considerably in the country, mainly in the textile, automotive and aerospace industries.

Foreign Direct Investment 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 2,3052,3854,844
FDI Stock (million USD) 99,70987,01391,857
Number of Greenfield Investments* 765443
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 10,1966,6251,508

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

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What to consider if you invest in Nigeria

Strong Points
Nigeria's strong points in terms of attracting FDI include :

- important size of its domestic market (Africa's most populous country)
- Africa’s highest GDP;
- important hydrocarbon resources and high agricultural potential;
- relatively low public and external debt;
- the Nigerian Government's policy of economic liberalisation, promoting public-private partnerships and strategic alliances with foreign companies.
Weak Points
There are a number of obstacles to FDI in Nigeria:

- Poorly developed transport and energy infrastructure (lack of electricity), which result in high operating costs;
- An inefficient judicial system and unreliable dispute settlement mechanisms;
- A high tax burden;
- With oil and gas accounting for over 90% of export revenues, the economy is vulnerable to volatility on global markets and to large swings in energy prices;
- The federal government is hampered by the strength of state and tribal authorities. Deep ethnic, religious and regional divisions provide risks to political stability;
- An increasing lack of security, especially in connection with the extremist group Boko Haram operating in the north-east of the country.

Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
In 1995, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act dismantled years of controls and limits on foreign direct investment (FDI), opening nearly all sectors to foreign investment, allowing for 100 percent foreign ownership in all sectors (with the exception of the petroleum sector, where FDI is limited to joint ventures or production sharing contracts), and creating the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) with a mandate to encourage and assist investment in Nigeria. The NIPC features a One-Stop Investment Center that nominally includes participation of 27 governmental and parastatal agencies (not all of which are physically present at the OSIC, however) in order to consolidate and streamline administrative procedures for new businesses and investments. Foreign investors receive largely the same treatment as domestic investors in Nigeria, including tax incentives. However, without strong political and policy support, and because of the unresolved challenges to investment and business in Nigeria, the ability of the NIPC to attract new investment has been limited.

The Nigerian Government has introduced many programmes to boost FDI, notably in agriculture, exploitation and mining, oil and gas extraction, as well as in the export sectors. Tax incentives are granted to pioneering industries deemed beneficial for the economic development of the country and employment of its workforce (such as clothing); allowances facilitating capital investments and the deduction of interest on loans for gas companies are also planned. The list of inventives can be found here.

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Nigeria
Nigeria has signed bilateral investment agreements with Algeria, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Korea, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Uganda and United Kingdom. Only four treaties (France, Netherlands, South Korea and United Kingdom) have been ratified by both parties, the ratification process has been hesitant and poorly organised. The government has expressed an interest in negotiating a bilateral investment treaty with the United States.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
The Government supports anti-competitive business practises and protects private property in accordance with the NIPC Decree of 1995.

Industries considered crucial to national security, such as weapons, ammunition, military and paramilitary clothing, are not open to private investment.

Acquisition of Holdings
The NIPC Act of 1995 liberalized the ownership structure of business in Nigeria, so that foreign investors can now own and control 100 percent of the shares in any company (as opposed to the earlier arrangement of 40 to 60 percent-40 percent in favor of Nigerians), except in the oil and gas sector where investment is limited to joint ventures or production-sharing agreements.
Obligation to Declare
Every company must be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and stamp duty must be paid to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Every company with foreign participation must also be registered with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and a business license and an expatriate quota must be obtained from the Ministry of Interior.
The financial statements must be prepared annually and submitted to the CAC.

To learn more about the registration process, please visit NIPC website or the World Bank report.

Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC)
Requests For Specific Authorisations
All companies must register by the CAC.

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Latest Update: March 2023