Nigeria . . . a gold mine
By Victor Edegbe
“At the bottom of a rainbow sits a pot of gold”, that’s one good way to describe Nigeria.
The rainbow’s colours represent the wonderful opportunities that reside in the country and the pot of gold represents the bountiful returns that most companies, which took the bulls by the horns and invested in Nigeria, are currently enjoying.
Organisations like Ford, MTN, ShopRite, MultiChoice and KFC can testify this fact.
Nigeria, with a population of over 155 million people, a median age of 19.2 years and with 23% belonging to the middle class, is forecast to overtake the economy of South Africa by 2025 to become the biggest economy in the whole of Africa.
Keith Warren, a KFC spokesperson said, “We always knew a 150 million people . . . eating chicken on the bone as their primary protein, had to be a good thing for KFC, but we didn’t quite know how good a thing it was going to be”.
MTN Nigeria has emerged as the best operational unit of the MTN Group, capturing more than 60% of the subscribers added by the market in Nigeria in 2010. MTN’s Group President and CEO, Phuthuma Nhleko, said the company’s operations in Nigeria contributed positively to the R114.7 billion the group generated in the course of its business last year. Ford Motors started their first major corporate communications in Nigeria through their Nigerian agency roughly 4 years ago and in three years had around 7.3% of the Nigerian automobile industry and projects Nigeria to be the growth driver in the Sub-Saharan African region.
The local advertising industry is also enjoying a lot of investments coming from the global advertising networks such as DDB, BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy, JWT, Grey, Y&R, and Lowe Lintas.
Talking with some clients earlier in the year about their advertising plans for the country for 2013, their regional manager said they were expecting their budget approval from head office in June. When I asked him again in June there was still no update on their expected budget approval. He had heard the head office was not very confident about the security situation of Nigeria.
From experience, it is very difficult to understand Nigeria and its people from outside, you have to come in and feel the passion and energy from the people. Due to the varied nature of the country, the economic, commercial and advertising landscape is extremely diverse and it takes investment in local knowledge to understand it. Nigeria is an unusual country and just like the country, there is an unusual positive energy to the people, until you come in and live in the place, it is very difficult to know how Nigeria works from outside, this is what the likes of MTN, Ford, ShopRite and KFC are experiencing.
The entertainment industry has shown Nigerian advertising practitioners just what is possible. 5 years ago when you attended a party in any city in Nigeria, you’d probably hear and dance to about 95% of foreign music. Today that has changed. Most parties organised in Nigeria will probably feature almost 98% local music. Whilst the film industry has also evolved from the use of celluloid to the current use of high definition video cameras, today the industry has grown to a $590million annual revenue business with an average of 50 films produced per week. The industry has provided a platform for the emergence of small scale entrepreneurs. These came about because local artists, film producers and writers discovered insights into the Nigerian youth and consumers and are producing what they like and enjoy.
The advertising industry needs to evolve, move from trying to copy foreign advertising to suit the Nigerian market. It is true that some Nigerian consumers, because of the internet and cable television, have access to what is happening in the global environment. I strongly believe that any local agency that can perfect the art of creating local content, driven by local consumer insights but with international outlook in its advertising campaigns, will definitely conquer the Nigerian advertising market.
By 2030, Nigeria will be one of the few countries in the world that has young workers in plentiful supply. Youth, not oil will be the country’s most valuable resource in the twenty-first century. One can immediately understand why Nigeria is definitely one of the “investment jewel’’ destinations amongst the developing economies.
Victor Edegbe, Managing Director & CEO, Max Edge, Marketing Communications Consultants. Culled from thenetworkone: Africa