Foreign Firms Jostle for Nigerian Market as Incubator Presents Opportunities

Peter Uzoho

A number of multinational companies from the United States, Japan and Latin America have indicated their eagerness to expand their businesses into Nigeria and other countries in Africa and take advantage of the continent’s market.

Some of the foreign multinationals stormed Lagos, recently to acquaint themselves with the nation’s huge market and other opportunities and kick-start the process of their investment in the country.

Among them were US-based trio of MaC Venture Capital, an investment group passionate about investing in technology start-ups; GE Capital, the financial services division of General Electric, and Trident Capital, an equity firm investing in Software, Services and Internet.

Also, Japanese multinational tech conglomerate, SoftBank Group Corp, which boasts of $342.34 billion asset base as at 2020, according to information on its website, was among the foreign investors jostling for the Nigerian and African market.

SafeRoom – a SaaS platform that provides secure messaging for businesses was also readying to invest in the country.

The highlight of their few days stay in the country was the launch of ‘Africa Walk Unicorn Day Exhibition’, by the Unicorn Group, an initiative intended to change misconceptions about Africa and help foreign investors better understand the continent’s business landscape.

Attracted by the nation’s over 200 million population which presents a huge market for them, some of the companies who visited the Unicorn Incubation Centre in Yaba, said Nigeria was full of business opportunities, great human capacity as well as rich socio-cultural heritage that they need to succeed in the country.

Their coming was facilitated by Platform Capital, a financial and investment services group and promoters of Unicorn incubation centre, as part of the company’s strategy of linking investors with Nigerian technological start-ups that need to scale up their business.

Speaking at the launch, Partner, Platform Capital and Director at Unicorn Group, Dr Ponmile Osibo, said despite the opportunities across sectors on the African continent, there was still huge misconception about its narrative.

Osibo explained that the Africa Walk initiative was launched to demystify Nigeria and Africa to international investors, by inviting them to come and see the country and the continent for themselves, particularly the culture, and opportunities.

“We wanted to change the misconception about the reality of Africa. We wanted to create an initiative and environment where we demystify Africa, where we would help investors understand the continent through our eyes the way that we see Africa,” he said.

He added that the visits by foreign investors would provide clarity to them and help them understand that Africa was like other parts of the world.

He stated that the initiative which kick-started in Nigeria and Kenya, will be done annually, and that different investors would be brought in to visit two countries on the continent yearly.
“The initiative is new and as we continue to bring in investors to visit different Africa countries yearly, within the next 25 to 30 years, we would have taken different investors all across every country on the continent,” Osibo said.

Speaking on the economic impact of the initiative, he said the initiative would help drive foreign direct investment, generate more jobs for the continent’s economy and drive economic growth.

According to him, five foreign investors and three companies from the United States and Latin America are already in Nigeria and would be visiting Kenya under the Africa Walk initiative.
Also speaking, Managing Partner, MaC Venture Capital, Marlon Nichols, said his company had been looking at investing in Nigeria owing to its large and young population.

A seed-stage venture capital firm, MaC Venture Capital invests in technology start-ups leveraging shifts in cultural trends and behaviours.

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